Rancho Santa Fe club operator settles sexual harassment lawsuit

Fairbanks Ranch Country Club on San Dieguito Road.
Fairbanks Ranch Country Club on San Dieguito Road.
(Howard Lipin/The San Diego-Union-Tribune file


The Bay Club Company, operator of the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe, has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced April 21.

The suit filed by the EEOC in San Diego federal court alleged that both management and customers subjected female employees in the food and beverage department at Fairbanks Ranch and at another location to sexual harassment.

Employees who complained about the harassment were retaliated against, the EEOC alleged.

Bay Club, which operates two dozen resorts and country clubs, assumed control of Fairbanks Ranch in 2016, but the EEOC also settled separately with its predecessor, Fairbanks Ranch County Club Inc. for $125,000 in 2019.

In addition to monetary relief, Bay Club has agreed to retain an external equal employment opportunity monitor, review and revise its policies and procedures regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and maintain a reporting structure for employees to report harassment and discrimination, according to the EEOC.

Employees at all of the company’s locations will also undergo training on federal anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on sexual harassment, and Bay Club will be required to track discrimination complaints.

“The EEOC commends Bay Club for agreeing to implement comprehensive injunctive remedies and showing a strong commitment toward preventing sexual harassment,’’ said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which has jurisdiction over San Diego County. “Protecting young vulnerable workers from being sexually harassed remains a priority for the commission.”

Pamela Bloomer, director of the EEOC’s San Diego local office, said she is “encouraged that Bay Club is taking the necessary steps to ensure that all of its 24 locations are free of discrimination and harassment and provide a safe environment for its employees.”