April 24th, 2012

Sexual discrimination related to the game of golf was recently in the national headlines as the PGA Master’s Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club highlighted the clubs refusal to admit female members. But alleged discrimination at a golf club can also be found much closer to home. Four former employees of the Minneapolis Golf Club filed a lawsuit earlier this month alleging sexual harassment.

The female employees claim that two male supervisors engaged in unwanted and inappropriate touching and unwanted sexual propositions. One of the woman claimed that a supervisor had cornered her and then grabbed and kissed her.

According to the lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court, the four women had repeatedly asked the alleged harassers to stop but these requests were ineffective. The employees also complained to the general manager and human resources director, but these complaints were ignored. Even when one of the women brought in an audio recording of the alleged harassment, the general manager and HR director refused to even listen to it. Instead the women allege that they were retaliated against until they had no choice but to quit.

Traditionally, golf has been associated with exclusivity. Women and minorities were told that they need not apply for access to the most prestigious fairways. But much has changed, Tiger Woods has helped break the racial barriers in golf and the LPGA has greatly increased in popularity in recent years. Despite these advances, it seems that some outdated notions of indifference to sexual discrimination and harassment are still present.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Minneapolis Women allege harassment at Minneapolis Golf Club,” Abby Simons, April 3, 2012.

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