Chicago Cargo Company Tolerated Sexual Harassment of Female Employees and Fired a Male Employee for Speaking Out, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – Alliance Ground International, a cargo handling company that performs cargo, mail and ramp handling services for multiple clients at several major U.S. airports, including O’Hare International Airport, will pay $135,000 and provide injunctive relief to settle a sex harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an Alliance Ground employee filed a discrimination charge against the company, claiming that she had been sexually harassed by her supervisor and that her complaints were ignored. The EEOC’s investigation revealed that at least two other employees were harassed by the same supervisor. When a male employee witnessed the harassment and spoke out against it by reporting it to human resources, he was terminated by the very supervisor against whom he had made the complaint, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Alliance Ground International, No 18-cv-06598) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago on Sept. 20, 2017 after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Judge Norgle today, prohibits future sex harassment and retaliation and provides that Alliance Ground will pay $135,000 to the four former employees, post a notice of the settlement, and train its employees regarding employer obligations and the rights of employees under Title VII.

“When an employer fails to address sex harassment and punishes witnesses who come forward, it allows harassers to deprive the victims of harassment of safety in their own workplace,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District. “We appreciate that Alliance Ground is willing to institute stronger policies and to train its employees to prevent incidents like this from happening again.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District is responsible for investigating charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.