Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Commission penalizes swim club in Pennsylvania racism complaint

Commission penalizes swim club in Pennsylvania racism complaint -
(CNN) -- The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission issued a finding of probable cause Tuesday that racism was involved in the decision last June by a suburban Philadelphia swim club to revoke privileges of a largely minority day care center.

The commission ordered monetary damages for humiliation and embarrassment and a civil penalty of not more than $50,000.

The decision noted that none of the club's 155 paid members this year was African-American.

Last year, according to the decision, there were "179 paid memberships, none of whom were African American."

In addition, the decision noted that in 2009, the Valley Club "made a concerted effort to expand the geographic range of its membership by engaging in a marketing campaign.... The Respondent efforts were mainly directed at areas with overwhelmingly Caucasian populations.... The Respondent made no effort to direct such marketing efforts at areas with significant African American populations...."

"It's an invitation to sit down with our staff and have the parties settle their differences," said Stephen Glassman, chairman of the commission, of the 33-page decision. "If they don't, it will go on to a public hearing, a trial."

He said the Valley Swim Club has 30 days to appeal.

Joe Tucker, a lawyer for the swim club, said his client will do just that. "We believe this is wrong," he told CNN in a telephone interview.....

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