LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A race discrimination complaint at an exclusive country club involving a former employee and her two biracial children was settled with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.
The I-Team sat down with the mother and children for their first on-camera interview.
A valley mother knew she and her kids who are Caucasian and African American were being discriminated against, so she turned to the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.
After a more than two-year investigation, the commission backed up the mother’s claims finding there was racial discrimination.
“I want them to know that they’re beautiful, and that they’re strong and smart, and if people were to treat them like this, they can stand up and say that’s not right,” said Carmel Hill, the mother of the two children.
Hill’s daughters are learning this at a young age. Jessy Wolfe is 5 years old and Bella Wolfe is 8 years old. In 2016, when the sisters were just 3 and 5 years old, Hill was a tennis instructor at Red Rock Country Club.
Hill called it “weird” that her kids weren’t allowed to go to the club’s childcare but other people were allowed to use it.
According to the complaint later filed with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, or NERC, Hill and other members observed another Caucasian instructor use the daycare called “Tot Shop,” for his two Caucasian children.
Hill said the club knew her children were biracial because her children had visited in the past.
“The GM had made a comment that it also was a liability that if my kids hit another kid then they could be liable and sued by that parent that was a member, and since my kids weren’t members, that I worked there, that that could be a liability. I’m like my kids have never hit anyone.”
Hill eventually did bring Jessy and Bella to the childcare.
“One of the ladies that I coached came up to me and said ‘you need to go talk to Mike because one of the members just complained that your mixed kids were at the tennis center,'” she said.
The complaint states a wealthy and longtime Caucasian country club member was overheard stating “whose black kids are these?” And complained to management.
Five days later, Hill was fired and after she filed the complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, she was banned from the property.
“I burst into tears,” Hill said.
Perhaps the hardest part was explaining it to Jessy and Bella.
“I said mommy’s going to stand up to these people and we’re going to go to the discrimination board and report them so that this doesn’t happen to any other little girl.”
In July 2019, after a public hearing, the settlement agreement and order were signed. NERC issued a probable cause finding of racial discrimination and retaliation.
“It was like a relief,” Hill said. “It was like, it was satisfaction that I had made a difference.”
The commission ordered Red Rock Country Club to provide discrimination training to all employees and incorporate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on workplace policies and then go back to the commission to prove that was done.
Still, the country club is calling some of the allegations inaccurate and incomplete. Currently, attorney F. Travis Buchanan is negotiating on Hill’s behalf for settlement money.
“You know, really made me just personally upset is that you know when my client told me that her oldest child who at the time was only 5 years old said ‘Mommy what’s wrong with me?’ You know why did I get you, what’s wrong with me? Why would I get you terminated just because of who I am,” Buchanan said.
He says Red Rock should pay Hill for the harm she and her family went through as a result of the discrimination and retaliation.
“I’m happy that my mom is fighting,” Bella Wolfe said.
The I-Team reached out to an attorney for Red Rock Country Club and have not received a response. Reporter Vanessa Murphy called the club directly and asked for a manager or someone who could speak to the media. She was transferred to a man named Tom who told her there is no story and hung up.
Hill said she is still banned from the property which affects her since she plays in tennis matches and her daughter Bella now plays tennis. Her attorney says that is an issue being addressed in negotiations. If a negotiation is not reached, they plan on filing a federal lawsuit against Red Rock.
Within the past year, NERC has handled more than 1,500 complaints and about 40% of those were found to be discrimination.