Federal Appeals Court rules against Lakewood Condo’s swimming rules
The 3rd U.S. Circuit of Appeals has ruled that a Lakewood condominium association has violated women's rights in setting separate swimming hours for male and female residents.
Three homeowners in the 'A Country Place Condominium Association' community had filed a lawsuit in State Superior Court stating that the swimming policy violates the anti-discrimination provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act and the NJ law against discrimination.
The Fair Housing Act "makes it an unlawful housing practice to “discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status,or national origin.”
The case was then sent up to federal U.S. District Court.
Court documents posted on Scribd explain that Marie Curto, Steve Lusardi and his wife were fined $50.00 for each time they violated the swimming policy.
The District Court granted summary judgment to the Condominium Association because, “the gender-segregated schedule applies to men and women equally.”
The Condominium Association has rules for pool use and set up certain hours when only members of a single sex were allowed to swim.
Condo officials say they made these rules "to accommodate the Orthodox principle of
tznius, or modesty, according to which it is improper for men and women to see each other in a state of undress—including bathing attire."
New swimming rules were put into place in 2016 which made swimming times even more strict.
This schedule had a total of 31.75 hours each week for “men’s swim,” when women were prohibited from using the pool.
There were 34.25 hours defined as “women’s swim,” when men were prohibited.
Only 25 hours were open to people of all genders.
Changes to the schedule were made when Condo officials began hearing complaints.
The revised schedule provided 56 hours of segregated hours (32.5 hours for men and 33.5 hours for women), along with the same 12-hours of integrated swimming Sunday through Friday.
Under the current schedule women are able to swim for 3.5 hours after 5:00 p.m. on weeknights.
"The stark difference between men’s swimming hours and women’s swimming hours during weekday evenings is fatal to the pool schedule because it perpetuates stereotypes about the relative likelihood of men and women to be working during those hours."