EEOC alleges Chicago fashion stores discriminated against African-American, Hispanic employees

By Mark Iandolo | Sep 22, 2017

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Sept. 18 against City Sports, a chain of fashion stores with more than 20 locations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, for allegations of failing to hire and promote African-Americans and Hispanics into management positions in favor of Koreans.

According to allegations, most of City Sports’ employees were African-American or Hispanic, yet very few managers were. Instead, the suit states, managers tended to be Koreans hired from outside the company.

The EEOC says the reasons given by the company for why they favored hiring Koreans for management positions revealed they held negative stereotypes about African-Americans and Hispanics.

The EEOC seeks full relief, including back pay, reinstatement or promotion for affected individuals, and compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, the EEOC seeks injunctive relief against City Sports to prevent future discrimination.

"Denying employment opportunities based on ugly, negative racial and ethnic stereotypes is illegal and wrong," said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC's Chicago District Office. 

"Title VII's guarantee of equal employment opportunity is not fulfilled simply by hiring people of a particular race or ethnicity into entry-level positions. Every qualified employee, regardless of race or national origin, must be given the opportunity to compete for high-level positions. That opportunity was denied here, and we hope this suit will lead to fair consideration of black and Hispanic candidates for management jobs in the future."

EEOC’s Chicago District Office oversees agency operations in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota with area offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

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