$428,500 Decree Ends Suit Against Eagle Wings for Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Disability Bias

URBANA, Ill. – The federal district court in Urbana, Ill., today entered a consent decree under which Eagle Wings Industries, Inc. will pay $428,500 to a class of female employees who, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged, encountered sexual harassment at the company’s Rantoul, Ill., facility. This amount includes the attorney’s fees for one of the class members.

According to the EEOC suit, the automobile parts manufacturer discriminated against a class of female employees by subjecting them to sexual harassment, retaliated against one woman for engaging in protected activity and also required one woman to undergo an unlawful medical examination, contrary to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Eagle Wings Industries, Case No. 08-2231 (C.D. Ill.), on September 29, 2008. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Michael McCuskey and Magistrate Judge David Bernthal. The EEOC went to court after an administrative investigation, supervised by Chicago District Director John Rowe, found that there was reasonable cause to believe that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the ADA had been violated, and after first attempting to reach a settlement without litigation through the agency’s statutory conciliation process. Judge McCuskey entered the consent decree on January 27.

In addition to the monetary relief, Eagle Wings is required, under the publicly filed consent decree, to give training to employees at the Rantoul facility; post a notice of the settlement there; maintain records of discrimination complaints; and report such complaints to the EEOC, together with any actions taken in response, for two years.

The government’s litigation effort was led by EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane I. Smason and Trial Attorney Aaron R. DeCamp, under the supervision of Chicago Regional Attorney John Hendrickson.

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

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.