Add bath diapers to the list of problems that can become a federal matter.
A Florida family is suing their condominium board over what they say is a rule that prohibits children from using the community pool while wearing diapers.
Bath diapers are a lightweight, snug-fitting alternative to disposable or cloth diapers, which become heavy like anchors when wet.
According to the SwimOutlet.com website, swim diapers are “designed to be used only in the pool or ocean to ensure your little one’s butt is covered and contained.”
But if banning them in a community pool prevents a child from using that pool, swimming diapers can also become a symbol of the fight against discrimination.
A federal lawsuit filed on Monday in West Palm Beach, Florida names as plaintiffs grandparents Jack Yeager and Simone Yeager, owners of a house at the Hunters Run Country Club in Boynton Beach, their son David Yeager and his wife, Nicole Fisher.
The costume describes the following series of events:
David and Nicole were visiting the grandparents in December 2018 when they brought their then 19-month-old daughter to the clubhouse‘s main pool.
Supervised by her parents and dressed in a bath diaper, the child placed her feet in the clubhouse pool.
A Hunters Run employee approached the parents and demanded that the child be removed from the clubhouse pool. Children in diapers, the employee said, are only allowed to use the “children’s pool.”
A Hunters Run board member has confirmed that children wearing swim diapers have already been removed from the pool, the suit says.
The lawsuit claims Hunters Run violated Palm Beach County anti-discrimination ordinances as well as the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination against families with children under the age of 18.
âHunters Run’s rules for the clubhouse pool have a disparate and unreasonable impact on children,â the lawsuit says. Banning children wearing diapers from using the clubhouse pool is also “unreasonable” and “not motivated by legitimate concerns for health and safety reasons,” he adds.
The lawsuit seeks pecuniary damages, attorney fees, a finding that a discriminatory practice took place and an order prohibiting Hunters Run from enforcing the ban in the future.
It stems from a complaint filed with the Palm Beach County Equal Opportunity Office. Pamela Guerrier, director of the office, said she could not discuss the pending litigation.
The Yeagers’ attorney also declined to discuss the case, and the Hunters Run chief executive did not return a phone call to his office on Tuesday.
Typically, discrimination lawsuits advance after a local, state, or federal civil rights investigative body has determined that a court is likely to agree that discrimination has occurred.
Discrimination on the basis of family – or familial – status is a legal landmine that multi-family housing estates often struggle to avoid, said lawyers at Becker & Poliakoff, which specializes in issues involving community associations.
âIt’s common for us to talk to our clients about this kind of issue,â said David Muller, who practices community association law in the firm’s Sarasota office. âA lot of times they say, ‘Do I really have to worry about this? And we say, “It’s very real. “
Her colleague JoAnn Burnett, who specializes in fair housing issues in the Fort Lauderdale office, said associations and landlords “must adapt their rules to find the least restrictive means of accomplishing whatever they seek to accomplish.” .
She added: “If the goal is to have a pool that is free of feces or urine, the least restrictive way to do it is to require an incontinent or untrained person to wear waterproof underwear. or bath diapers.
Other examples of potential family discrimination would include prohibiting children under 12 from using a community swimming pool, prohibiting children under 16 from using an exercise room, or fixing a gym. an occupancy limit that would be exceeded when a mother gives birth, she said.
But there is a way that kids won’t be allowed to use any community facility, she said, with or without diapers and regardless of their age:
Build a community of 55+. They are allowed to exclude everyone.