STATE OF WISCONSIN
LABOR AND INDUSTRY REVIEW COMMISSION
P O BOX 8126, MADISON, WI 53708-8126 (608/266-9850)
REGINA R RHYNE, Complainant
MAYFLOWER MOTEL AND LOUNGE, Respondent
PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION DECISION
ERD Case No. 199903828
An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development issued a decision in this matter. A timely petition for review was filed.
The commission has considered the petition and the positions of the parties, and it has reviewed the evidence submitted to the ALJ. Based on its review, the commission agrees with the decision of the ALJ, and it adopts the findings and conclusion in that decision as its own.
The decision of the administrative law judge (copy attached) is affirmed.
Dated and mailed April 16, 2001
rhynere . rsd : 164 : 9
/s/ David B. Falstad, Chairman
/s/ James A. Rutkowski, Commissioner
In her petition for commission review the complainant argues that it is illegal to deny someone access to a place of public accommodation without filing the proper documents with the authorities, and then it is only allowed for a certain amount of time. Apparently the complainant is referring to the fact that the respondent chose to permanently bar her from its establishment, although the police stated she could return in 24 hours. However, while other laws or ordinances may exist which prevent the respondent from indefinitely barring a patron from its establishment, the public accommodations law requires only that an individual not be denied the full and equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation for discriminatory reasons. Where, as here, the evidence established that the complainant was barred from the respondent's premises based upon repeated instances of disorderly conduct, and not because of her race, color, age or gender, there is no probable cause to believe that a violation of § 106.52 of the statutes occurred.
In her petition the complainant takes issue with the manner in which the investigation was conducted, the manner in which the hearing was conducted, and the quality of the synopsis of the testimony. Regarding the former, the commission notes that its review is limited to the evidence that was presented at the hearing before the administrative law judge, without regard to the investigation or initial determination issued by the equal rights officer. The initial determination was not submitted into evidence at the hearing and did not influence the findings and conclusions made by the administrative law judge. The complainant also complains that the respondent's owner received calls on his cell phone during the hearing, a matter which she contends evinced a nonchalant attitude toward the proceedings. However, if a party chooses to adopt a nonchalant attitude toward an equal rights proceeding it does so at its own risk, and the complainant has presented no reason to believe that the respondent's alleged failure to take the matter seriously adversely affected her ability to present her case. Finally, with respect to the synopsis, the complainant maintains that it is incomplete because it does not reflect some of the testimony regarding her attempt to obtain employment with the respondent or testimony showing that patrons who are kicked out of the respondent's establishment for drugs or fighting are generally readmitted after 30 days. However, even assuming that testimony on these points was presented at the hearing but omitted from the synopsis, the complainant has failed to demonstrate that such testimony would have had any bearing on the outcome of her case, and the commission sees no reason to believe that its omission from the synopsis could have resulted in any prejudice to her. Consequently, the commission finds it unnecessary to listen to the hearing tapes.
The commission has considered the remaining arguments raised by the complainant in her petition, but finds them similarly unpersuasive. Because the evidence overwhelmingly establishes that the complainant was barred from the respondent's premises due to her own unruly conduct, and not for discriminatory reasons, the dismissal of her complaint is affirmed.
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