WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice today reached a settlement resolving allegations of racial discrimination with the owner and operator of Eve, a nightclub in Milwaukee, Wis. The Justice Department alleged that the nightclub discriminated against African-American patrons by denying them admission into the nightclub for false reasons. The settlement requires the nightclub to implement changes to its policies and practices in order to prevent such discrimination.
“Barring African-Americans from entering a business is offensive and unlawful, and should be a sad relic of a bygone era,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will vigorously enforce federal laws prohibiting such discrimination.”
“We will aggressively pursue claims of racial discrimination,” said Steven M. Biscupick, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The Justice Department’s complaint, filed on Dec. 29, 2005, alleged that Eve nightclub, doing business as Eve, violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against prospective African-American patrons because of their race. The suit further alleged that on numerous occasions the nightclub denied African-Americans entry to Eve for false pretextual reasons, such as inappropriate attire, exclusion due to a private party, or that Eve was already full, while similarly-situated white persons were admitted to Eve.
The consent decree submitted to the court today resolves the matter. The consent decree, pending court approval, requires that Eve comply with federal law by not discriminating against patrons on the basis of race; post and enforce a non-discriminatory dress code policy; implement a system for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination; and conduct monitoring to ensure that Eve’s employees are acting in a non-discriminatory manner consistent with federal law. Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin in places of public accommodation, such as nightclubs. Under Title II, the Civil Rights Division can obtain injunctive relief that changes policies and practices to remedy customer discrimination. Title II does not authorize the Division to obtain specific relief, such as monetary damages for individual customers who are victims of discrimination.