I-Team: Increase in discrimination complaints since tennis pro came forward

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Many people have responded to the I-Team’s report about a tennis pro who says she and her biracial daughters were discriminated against when she worked at the Red Rock Country Club.

Carmel Mary-Hill is suing the country club after the Nevada Equal Rights Commission backed up her claims.

The I-Team learned that since our exclusive interview with Mary-Hill aired in August, there’s been an increase in complaints filed.

Jessy Wolfe with her mother, Carmel Hill. (Courtesy, Carmel Hill)

“Hopefully, I’ve given other people the courage to stand up for what’s right,” Mary-Hill said.

Mary-Hill says she was told her biracial daughters could no longer use the daycare at Red Rock Country Club where she worked as a tennis instructor, despite seeing other employees using it. She was fired shortly after she filed a complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC).

Jessy, left, and Bella are Carmel Hill’s daughters. (Courtesy, Carmel Hill)

This year, NERC issued a probable cause finding of discrimination and retaliation. NERC handles complaints of discrimination related to race, religion, gender, and more. It operates under the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation.

“The commission accepts attempts to settle and investigates alleged unlawful discrimination complaints in employment, housing, and public accommodation, so that’s basically their role,” said Rosa Mendez, NERC’s public information officer.

Mendez also told the I-Team that from July 2018 to July 2019, NERC received more than 1,500 complaints of discrimination; nearly 800 were founded.

“We certainly don’t want to see discrimination in the state, so we would encourage any that feels that they have been discriminated against to come forward,” Mendez said.

As a result of the finding in Mary-Hill’s case, Red Rock Country Club is required to provide discrimination training to employees and incorporate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on workplace policies. 

NERC also provided a right to sue letter to Mary-Hill. She says since a settlement was not reached, she is suing in federal court for financial compensation.

“It’s not just about the money; it’s about making a change,” said F. Travis Buchanan, attorney. “She’s taking a bold step to perfect her rights, and we’re gonna go to bat for her to make sure that what happened to her does not happen to anyone else.”

“I want to make a difference,” Mary-Hill said. “I think there are so many racial problems in America right now, and I feel like me standing up makes people think twice now.” 

Anyone who has been discriminated against can file complaints in person, online, and by fax. However, not all complaints are investigated. In some cases, there is just mediation.

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