Ohio Landlord Fights ‘White Only’ Pool Sign Ruling

A landlord found to have discriminated
against a black girl by posting a “White Only” sign at a swimming pool
wants a state civil rights commission to reconsider its decision.


The Ohio Civil Rights
Commission found on Sept. 29 that Jamie Hein, who’s white, violated the
Ohio Civil Rights Act by posting the sign at a pool at the duplex where
the teenage girl was visiting her parents. The parents filed a
discrimination charge with the commission and moved out of the duplex in
the racially diverse city to “avoid subjecting their family to further
humiliating treatment,” the commission said in a release announcing its
finding.

An investigation revealed that Hein
in May posted on the gated entrance to the pool an iron sign that stated
“Public Swimming Pool, White Only,” the commission statement said.

Several
witnesses confirmed that the sign was posted, and the landlord
indicated that she posted it because the girl used in her hair chemicals
that would make the pool “cloudy,” according to the commission.

Hein,
of Cincinnati, hung up when The Associated Press called her for comment
Tuesday. A message was left at her lawyer’s office.

The
commission’s statement said that its investigation concluded that the
posting of such a sign “restricts the social interaction between
Caucasians and African-Americans and reinforces discriminatory actions
aimed at oppressing people of color.”

Commissioners
were scheduled to hear Hein’s request for reconsideration at a meeting
Thursday in Columbus, commission spokeswoman Brandi Martin said.

If
the commissioners uphold their original finding, the case would be
referred to the Ohio attorney general’s office, which would represent
the commission’s findings before an administrative law judge, Martin
said.

Penalties in the case could include a
cease-and-desist order and even punitive damages, but the administrative
law judge would determine any penalties, Martin said.

It still would be possible for the parties to reach a settlement before resorting to legal action, she said.

Any decision by the administrative judge could be appealed to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, Martin said.

Source: Lisa Cornwell, The Associated Press