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March 01, 2013

Country club must pay $500,000 for discrimination against women

Posted at 3:37 PM by Coleman McDowell | Categories: Spokane Country Club

The Spokane Country Club in Spokane, Wash., must pay $500,000 after a court found that the club had discriminated against four women members, according to The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

A Spokane County Superior Court jury Thursday ruled in favor of four women who argued they were denied the full benefits of club membership simply because of their gender. The unanimous verdict caps a five-year legal battle that exposed multiple examples of the club’s practice of allowing its male members the premium tee-times for golfing and bars women from certain areas of the restaurants.

Attorney Mary Schultz, who represented the four women, said in closing arguments Wednesday that the club’s board of directors has been continuing a 115-year tradition of giving men premium tee-times on Wednesdays and Saturdays while women must play on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

“The world has moved on,” Schultz argued to the jury. “Washington has moved on. Discrimination is not controlled by the majority or who plays more rounds. It’s against the law to establish gender-based practices.”

Spokane Country Club's lawyers argued the club had already begun to comply with the women's requested changes like renaming the "men's grill," but that wasn't enough to sway the jury, whose decision was unanimous.

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