CHICAGO – In a lawsuit filed here today in federal court, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged that Chicago-based Collectors Training Institute of Illinois, Inc. (CTI) unlawfully retaliated against one of its employees by firing her after she complained about sex discrimination.
According to the EEOC, after the employee complained about discrimination by a company owner, she was called to a meeting conducted by an outside attorney, was told she could not have her own attorney present, and was given five minutes to decide whether to cooperate in a so-called “investigation” or be fired. The EEOC said that when the employee insisted she wanted her own attorney present, she was fired and escorted out of the building.
Retaliation for complaining about discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Today’s lawsuit, captioned EEOC v. Collectors Training Institute of Illinois, Inc., d/b/a CTI Collection Services, No. 09 CV-5849, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago after the agency first attempted to voluntarily resolve the matter with the employer. The case has been assigned to District Judge William T. Hart and Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox.
“Employers would do well to treat investigations of complaints of discrimination as serious business, important to their success and to their bottom line,” said EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney John Hendrickson. “Using ‘investigations’ as a means of intimidating or getting rid of those who complain only compounds problems. As far as the EEOC is concerned, conducting investigations as adversarial proceedings and issuing ultimatums to workers who complain smacks of retaliation.”
CTI Collections Service, is a collection agency located on the west side of Chicago. The company employs approximately 150 people.
The EEOC’s 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 discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.