discrimination

Pool rules and pet regulations may seem like no-brainers at first to community associations. But are you entirely aware of what posted rules can constitute discrimination? What may have started as a guideline for safety could turn into a recipe for a discrimination filing.

Avoiding discrimination is the first step toward establishing an environment that fosters equal treatment and protections. Certain language and rules regarding pool use and pets have been under fire at community associations across the US. In a comprehensive article by Elina Gilbert of Hindman Sanchez in Colorado, several common practices are reviewed, with tips on how community associations can better protect themselves from being considered discriminatory.

We offer a wrap-up here that may improve your organization’s messaging.

By the pool and the pool table, adults will be adults and kids will be kids:

The rule? The solution:
Kids under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult in the pool. Permit kids who master certain swimming skills to swim without an adult.
Adult-only swim time or pool access. Calling it “lap-swim time” is a better way to go.
No baby strollers or playpens in pool area. Reword your sign to: Lounge chairs only in pool area.
Kids who aren’t potty-trained can’t use the pool. Again, wording is everything: Make it clear that incontinent individuals must wear waterproof swim attire.
Toys and skateboards must be removed from common room by 10 p.m. Expand this list so it includes all items and recreational gear.

Wanted: Four legs, fluffy tail, quiet bark:

The rule? The solution:
No pets allowed for renters (but owners can have pets). Have the same rule for renters and owners. End of story.
No pets allowed. Period. Allow emotional support animals and service pets to aid those in need.

When reviewing your community association‘s rules, consider the language first and who it could discriminate against. In the interest of equality for all, it’s better to streamline the regulations so no one is excluded.