Condo Association, Religious Practices & Federal Court
A New Jersey Condominium Association segregated its swimming pool schedule by gender in an attempt to assuage many of the association’s Orthodox Jewish residents who are religiously prohibited from swimming with members of the opposite gender.
The schedule allowed almost no swimming for women in the evening hours based on the belief that they are home during the work day and may swim then. Ultimately, less than a third of the total pool hours allowed men and women to swim together.
A federal court struck down a condo’s attempt to segregate swimming pool access according to gender. The Court found that the hours set aside for women were based on gender stereotypes and adversely affected working women.
The lesson: Regardless of good intentions, condo rules cannot treat protected classes differently as the Fair Housing Act prohibits such discrimination.