The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits commercial establishments from discriminating against employees and patrons based on ancestry, color, disability, handicap, national origin, race, relationship status, religious creed, sex, or use of a support animal. Most U.S. states have enacted similar protections for their people. A woman has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, alleging that the new owners of the Grandview Golf Club discriminated based on race and gender.
This high-profile golf club lawsuit highlights some of the complaints we’ve been investigating at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. We encourage N.Y. and N.J. residents to contact us at once if they’ve experienced unfair treatment at one of the local clubs.
What was the Grandview Golf Club case about?
Myneca Ojo and other members of the Sisters in the Fairway joined the Grandview Golf Club in Dover Township in April 2018, but immediately felt unwelcome when they first attempted to use their three-year membership.
President Commissioner Steve Chronister approached the women at the second hole in an angry and aggressive manner, telling them they needed to “keep pace.” He offered an unusual golf club refund — on the carts and the memberships — if they would leave the course immediately.
Less than an hour after the women teed off, a Northern York County Regional police officer responded to a 9-1-1 call from Chronister, but later left after he could determine no evidence of wrongdoing. Chronister had told dispatchers, “We have a tough situation here with a group of golfers that decides they don’t want to abide by the rules,” and said the only “weapons” the women had were “their mouths.”
“When this man saw us, he saw two things: he saw us being African-American, and he saw us being an all women group being on the golf course,” said Ms. Ojo. “I don’t want anyone else to have that feeling that they are unwelcome any place in this country,” she explained in filing the suit.
Some of the women left at 12:45 after finishing the first nine holes, soured by the discriminatory treatment they had faced earlier. Ojo and another woman took a break and got into an altercation at the 10h hold when co-owner Jordan Chronister said they could not “cut people off.” A verbal altercation ensued. Steve Chronister again called 9-1-1 to get the women removed at 1:26. He called the case “a fraudulent accusation of racism and discrimination that never happened.”
The formal complaint alleges conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
What did the courts find?
Two years after the incident occurred, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) found enough probable cause for the lawsuit to proceed to mediation on February 11th in Harrisburg. Present at the hearing was Jerry Higgins, the golfer behind them, who testified that the group had not caused any delays or bothered him. It was his opinion that the group of women had been unfairly targeted.
The PHRC requests that the Chronisters:
- Compensate the women for costs associated with the complaint
- Extend their memberships at Grandview by one year
- Provide free golf lessons
- Take discrimination training provided to the commission
- Establish a policy establishing which scenarios warrant police intervention
- Document all discrimination complaints and report to the PHRC quarterly
Chronister continues to deny the allegations and wants the private mediation to be open to the media, as he feels unfairly treated by the PHRC. If the case is not resolved, the matter will move to a public hearing. After all the hearings, town hall meetings, mediation sessions, press interviews, and paperwork so far, the women are certainly looking forward to putting the lawsuit behind them.
Contact KGG Law to Inquire about a Golf Course Lawsuit
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman is a New York law firm equipped to handle cases of discrimination and breach of contract. With so many country clubs in the vicinity, we are no strangers to the golf course lawsuit. Contact us for a free consultation. You don’t pay us until we recover money on your behalf.