A three-member panel of the Delaware Human Relations Commission on Dec. 2 issued a unanimous decision that the Summer House Saloon and Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Del., engaged in illegal discrimination against two gay men last March based on their sexual orientation.
The ruling followed a Sept. 13 hearing in which the commission listened to testimony from witnesses who said an employee of Summer House refused service to Daniel Truitt and Mark Queen, the two men who filed a discrimination complaint against Summer House.
The 27-page decision cites testimony from a Rehoboth police officer that the employee, Nick Hutu, shoved Queen while Queen was dancing on the Summer House dance floor. The decision says the police officer also testified that Hutu reportedly said to people who were with Queen, “Why don’t you go to the gay bar Cloud 9,” which is located near the Summer House.
“The Panel finds that based on the evidence presented at the hearing, Mr. Truitt and Mr. Queen proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Summer House discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation and that the reason offered by Summer House was a mere pretext,” the decision says.
“The Panel finds for complainants Daniel Truitt and Mark Queen and against respondent Summer House based on respondent’s violations of the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law,” it says.
The decision orders Summer House to pay a civil penalty of $5,000, provide evidence within 30 days that it has provided training to all current employees about the state’s Equal Accommodations Law, and that all new employees receive such training.
Summer House must also post a written non-discrimination policy in English and Spanish in a location where all employees see it where they sign in or clock in for their shifts, the decision says.