Out in the western Chicago suburbs sits the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, once one of the most powerful and large particle accelerators in existence. The landmark science facility brags that it brings “the world together to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space and time.”
However, according to a recent lawsuit, Fermilab violated employment and civil rights law when it denied a promotion to an engineer in retaliation for her complaint that she was subjected to sexual discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Fermilab employs more than 1,750 workers, the EEOC said in a press statement, though the federal agency did not state how many of those employees are female.
The agency said that its administrative investigation showed that only months after the engineer filed a gender-based discrimination grievance, she was denied a promotion to an engineering managerial position, though she was “the most qualified candidate,” according to the EEOC.
If the allegation is accurate, it constitutes a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC charges. The law prohibits retaliation against workers who file sexual discrimination complaints.
The EEOC’s district director in Chicago summed it up nicely when she said, “Federal employment discrimination laws depend on the willingness of employees to challenge discrimination without fear or punishment.”
If you are willing to challenge discrimination in your workplace, you should speak with an attorney experienced in sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation litigation. A lawyer with a track record of success can protect your rights and career.