Despite revising its admission and employment policies to be more inclusive, the prestigious Pine Valley Golf Club has been accused of gender discrimination. The club, which boasts more than 700 members and has been home to two international competitions, was a men-only club throughout most of its history. That extended to its members and its employees, job openings were not necessarily advertised through traditional methods but word-of-mouth. Those who applied and were accepted were traditionally men.
Throughout most of its existence, the club catered only to men and even restricted the number of employed women. Women were not wholly barred from entering club grounds, although the times when they could play were limited to a few hours on Sunday, which is still more than the public received. The club only opened to the public once a year.
The club allegedly limited the number of women employed there. The 108-year-old club does appear to predominantly hire men as it has hired only six women as of July 2020, which made up less than four percent of the staff, the complaint claimed.
In New Jersey, it is illegal to hire a person or not hire a person based on their gender. If you have been passed over for a job because of your sex, a lawyer will work with you to help hold those companies accountable for their actions.
Can the State Go After a Private Club?
Pine Valley Golf Club is a unique situation in that it encompasses the entire town of Pine Valley, New Jersey in Camden County. The golf club owns the land in the city, including several residential properties. Pine Valley Golf Club became a portion of Pine Hill during a consolidation earlier this year. The residents of Pine Valley, which was about 12 according to the last census, and borough commissioners all live on the golf course. In addition, they all have some connection to the golf course either as members, related to a member, or they work there.
The club acts as the borough’s source of revenue and therefore commands significant sway over the policies and decisions that are made in the town. As such, New Jersey argued that the club was not acting in the capacity of a private entity.
The complaint stated that the golf club and the borough were intertwined, which means that the club could dictate tax rates and decide who could move in and who could not. Since it maintained that level of authority, the state argued that it was not acting entirely in a private manner.
How Will the Pine Valley Country Club Case Proceed?
The country club recognized the need to be more inclusive with its membership and employment numbers when it unanimously agreed to open membership up to everyone last year. However, despite this demonstration of progressiveness, the numbers have still not reflected the change. Since then, only three women have become members.
It is unclear why the numbers have not increased more, but the state believes that the club is still following its old policies despite the change. It claims that the numbers demonstrate that nothing has changed in the club. In response, the state is seeking injunctive relief and compensatory damages to all those impacted by the previous policy of the club.
What Are the State’s Laws About Gender Discrimination?
Gender discrimination is not tolerated. A woman cannot be prevented from gaining a job because she is a woman, nor can a man also be denied a job because he is a man.
The laws that protect all employees from gender discrimination include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: This provision of the federal laws protects individuals from discrimination for various protected classes, including gender.
- New Jersey Law Against Discrimination: The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) mimics the federal version by prohibiting the discrimination of individuals based on their gender. This law includes sexual orientation in its list of protected classes.
If you believe you are the target of gender discrimination, then you should speak with a lawyer who will fight back on your behalf against your employer.
What Are Examples of Gender Discrimination?
Gender discrimination does not necessarily mean a company hires and fires people based on their gender. It could also play a role in promotions as well. Suppose a company only promotes women over men or vice versa, or women are expected to do menial tasks. Other examples of gender discrimination include:
- A company does not provide for a woman to go on maternity leave.
- An employee is told that they are either too feminine or masculine for the office.
- A person is promoted even though they have more minor qualifications than another candidate, a member of the other sex.
- One gender is paid more than the other gender in the office. The two people would have to be in a similar job executing similar functions.
- A person is hired because of their gender even though they are not as skilled as the person of the other sex who was passed over for the position.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is another version of gender discrimination; a person is being unfairly harassed or abused because of their gender or failure to conform to certain gender norms.
What Are My Options if I am Facing Gender Discrimination at Work?
Most companies have policies and procedures for their employees who believe that they have been targeted by gender discrimination or harassment. In most instances, a current employee can go to their supervisor or a higher-level supervisor if the supervisor is the one they believe is the one who discriminated against them. They can report the misbehavior to the supervisor.
If they fail to act on those complaints, you can still take the matter to your Human Resources (HR) department and voice your concerns. It would help if you offered suggestions on ways to resolve the issue. You can go to HR if you feel uncomfortable going to your managers. However, you should report any incident to your company before reporting it to any outside agency.
If you find that your company is not responsive to your concerns or has retaliated against you, the next option is to speak with an outside government agency. On the federal side, you can communicate with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, you have only 180 days from the date of the incident to file a case with them.
At the state level, you can go to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights within the Office of the Attorney General. This has greater flexibility with the two-year statute of limitations. After speaking with an employment lawyer, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your company and any parties guilty of discrimination.
As part of your suit, you can seek compensation for any mental or physical conditions that occurred due to what happened and reinstatement to the position you were either denied or terminated from. You can also force changes at the company to ensure that the behavior you experienced does not continue.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight Back Against Gender Discrimination at Work
If you have been discriminated against at work because of your gender, this behavior should not be tolerated. Our Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will fight to ensure the employer does not do it again. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.