Lauderdale yacht company faces discrimination lawsuit

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Broward County (Fla.) commissioners recently voted to sue a Fort Lauderdale yachting crew company for racial discrimination.

Diane Melton applied for a job several years ago at the Luxury Yacht Group. After applying, she received an e-mail and read her would-be boss’s comments that she might not fit in with the yachting clientele because she was “black and overweight,” the Sun Sentinel newspaper reported.

The e-mail, sent to Melton by mistake, is at the crux of a racial discrimination case Broward taxpayers are now involved in. Melton didn’t get the job at Luxury Yacht Group, and the county is going to court on her behalf.

Commissioners voted last week to sue to force the company to pay the $44,965 in damages and about $100,000 in attorney’s fees that the county’s Human Rights Board said it must.

The rights board ruled two years ago that Luxury Yacht Group committed racial discrimination, a violation of county and federal law. The county can use the courts to enforce the rights board’s final orders when they aren’t followed.

Rupert Connor, owner of Luxury Yacht Group, told the newspaper that his company was treated unfairly by the county, all based on one e-mail. His appeal of the county order is pending in circuit court. He said he’s also being sued by Melton in federal court, the newspaper reported.

The company recruits crewmembers to work on yachts and he said he has hired people of all backgrounds.

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Comments

6 comments on “Lauderdale yacht company faces discrimination lawsuit

  1. enginecom

    And who wants some fat person representing them? Ethnicity should never be an obstacle for employment. Having some huge person as their first sighting when coming into a business can be an image problem. Soon we will be seeing it illegal to discriminating for business image purposes on all fronts. Government should not be over regulating businesses in hiring practices but some line must be drawn in the sand. The demands seem much as all who will win here is the lawyers. We can sympathise with this company but again we can’t.

  2. Blk Boater

    A few months ago there was a heated online discussion in “A View From Here” about diversifying the boating industry’s marketing efforts by targeting different racial and gender groups.

    This case is an example of how far the boating/yachting industry has to go before it can truly broaden its customer base. This is not to say that the Luxury Yacht Group represents the entire industry’s attitude toward race, gender and body image. But I can’t recall the last time I saw a marketing image from the industry that reflected the true diversity of the boating community and customer base.

  3. vissionquest

    It does point out that a stupid action by one dumb employee can put an entire company in hot water.

  4. Bill Bates

    Horrible story that’s bad news all the way round. But it’s a delicate path.

    Wealthy people – and make no mistake, yacht owners are wealthy people – can choose the people with whom they wish to associate. End of story.

    Yacht crewing companies, luxury good retailers like Cartier, and high-end travel & leisure businesses discriminate on a daily basis. No fat people, no ugly people, no unattractive people, no (or very view) people with disabilities. Many rich people choose to go through life without dealing with those kinds of folks, and they can afford to do so.

    Is it good? No. Is it right? No. It is fair? No. Is it illegal? Well, the way this country’s moving, it soon will be.

  5. Rick Dieterich

    This country is over regulated as it is. A company or person should be able to hire whomever they want based on whatever qualifications they feel will make employee successful in the position and therefore make the company successful. PERIOD.

  6. redbw

    You guys missed the point. They can hire whoever they want and they can discriminate against anybody they want to. They could have just sent her an email and said thanks, but no thanks. What would be wrong with that???? But They didn’t have to tell her we don’t want you because you are fat and black. How about if you applied for a job and they sent you an email and told you that they didn’t want to hire you because you were ugly, stupid and too old? You’d be suing too. Those guys who can’t keep their mouth shut should be sued. They didn’t have to go out of their way to insult the woman regardless. I’ll bet they insult their customers too. Where’s their manners?? They don’t have to hire her or anybody they don’t like but Where is their courtesy and respect?

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