Tennis instructor sues Vegas country club, alleges race bias
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A tennis instructor is suing an exclusive Las Vegas country club, alleging she was wrongly fired in 2016 after an influential club member made "blatantly racist" comments about her biracial children.
Carmel-Mary Hill's attorney, F. Travis Buchanan, said Friday the federal lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas is different than a race bias settlement that Red Rock Country Club reached several weeks ago with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.
Red Rock Country Club admitted no wrongdoing in the July settlement, Hill didn't get her job back and no money changed hands.
Hill worked as a tennis instructor at the club for 16 months before she was fired in September 2016 by a manager who told her that her daughters, ages 5 and 3, had been "unruly" in club daycare and that Hill violated company policy.
The dismissal came after Hill brought her daughters to a professional tennis tournament at the club, where Hill alleges "a wealthy and longtime Caucasian member" complained to managers after asking "whose black kids" they were. The member was not identified by name in the lawsuit.
In the July settlement, the club disputed some factual allegations as "inaccurate and/or incomplete" but acknowledged that the agreement made them a matter of public record.
Attorney Stephanie Mazzei, representing the club, said Friday her client denies Hill's lawsuit claims and won't comment on active litigation.
The club agreed in the state complaint to provide "discrimination training" to staff, draft a new employee manual for approval by the commission, and return for a compliance hearing before the five-member panel in November.
Hill now intends to seek more than $1 million for racial discrimination and civil rights violations, Buchanan said.
"My client has an independent right to seek compensation separate and apart from the state interest," he said.
The gated country club in the Summerlin area of northwest Las Vegas has luxury homes surrounding three golf courses, club, restaurant, sports, swimming, spa and banquet facilities. Initiation fees can be $10,000, with memberships from $195 to $930 per month.