ARTICLES FROM THE ARCHIVES
guests of members and rejected the EEOC’s claim that the club lacked meaningful guest criteria. According to the Court of Appeals: “The suggestion that a pri- vate club exemption requires a certain level of intima- cy between members and their invited guests is, to say the least, ridiculous.” Both courts also found the club’s practice of allowing its members to host private functions involving nonmember organizations to be consistent with private club status, even though the bill for such events might be paid directly or indirect- ly by the nonmember organization.
IS THE CLUB SUFFICIENTLY SELECTIVE? The Court of Appeals made clear that, in its view, selective membership practices are the essence of pri- vate club status and The Chicago Club’s practices were clearly sufficiently selective. The Court of Appeals concluded that the club’s screening proce- dure “has withstood the test of time and is apparent-
ly quite effective.” The court discussed The Chicago Club’s selection process in some detail saying, “we doubt that in such a regime there could be a more fitting or efficient system for selecting members than the intensive screening procedure used by the club.” Rejecting the EEOC’s position that standards need to be objective, the court stated:
That the club’s bylaws do not painstakingly describe subtleties inherent in this personal screening process in no way diminishes the practical significance of this practice. Indeed the very nature of a private club suggests this prac- tice to be the best available course.
THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS’ CONCLUSION The Court concluded with language that was sharply critical of the EEOC’s pursuit of this case.
THE PRIVATE CLUB EXEMPTION FUND NCA AND THE CLUB COMMUNITY RALLY FOR THE CHICAGO CLUB
In a spring 1996 visit to the Chicago area, NCA’s executive vice president, Susanne
Wegrzyn, presented a contribution to The Chicago Club to assist with legal costs associat- ed with a lawsuit initiated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). NCA launched the fundraising effort last fall because the association felt that the issues pre- sented in the case had significant implications for the club community. This effort netted more than $16,000 from clubs throughout the country, as well as from the California State Club Association. The suit, initiated in 1992, alleged that the club had failed to file an EEO-l report
(employment profile report) and had failed to post employment information in the work- place. The club asserted it was tax-exempt, and therefore, was not subject to the reporting requirement. A federal district court agreed and granted summary judgment for the club. The EEOC, however appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals, where arguments
were presented in January. A decision in the case is expected sometime later this year. On behalf of The Chicago Club, NCA thanks the many clubs that have generously responded to this fundraising effort.
In 1996, NCA presented The Chicago Club with a contribution to defray defense costs associat- ed with its EEOC case. Pictured left to right: Frank Stover, CCM, NCA director and GM of The Chicago Club, Susanne Wegrzyn, NCA’s EVP, and C.H. Randolph Lyon, treasurer of The Chicago Club and president of the Onwentsia Club.
CLUB DIRECTOR 29
THE BEST OF CLUB DIRECTOR
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