We here at the Fair Housing Defense blog write over and over that we know there are always two sides to every case and that both stories deserve to be heard. Today’s post involves a case in which the Ohio Civil Rights Commission found probable cause to believe that unlawful discrimination took place.

The allegations involve an Ohio landlord who posted a racially insensitive sign at a community swimming pool. Just last week the landlord called on the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to reconsider its September 2011 ruling that she had discriminated on the basis of race in violation of Ohio law when she posted a sign at the pool in one of her properties that read “Public Swimming Pool, White Only.”

According to the Ohio investigators, the landlord directly accused the resident’s biracial daughter of making the water in the pool “cloudy” because of the chemicals that she used in her hair. Shortly thereafter, management allegedly posted the offending sign. Several witnesses confirmed that the sign was indeed posted. The parents filed a discrimination charge and moved out of the community to “avoid subjecting their family to further humiliating treatment.” In defending against the charge, the landlord stated that she didn’t “have any problem with race at all. It’s a historical sign.” She also contended that the swimming pool at the apartment duplex is private property and that “everybody has to ask before getting in my pool.”  The landlord’s motion for reconsideration is scheduled to be heard in January 2012.

The Fair Housing Act is clear that management cannot, among other things, post a sign that gives the appearance of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap.  Enough said.  That prohibition extends not only to the rental of apartments, but also to the use of the amenities and common facilities – such as a pool.  Management representatives who fail to strictly comply with these laws expose themselves unnecessarily to potentially severe (and expensive) consequences.

Just a Thought.