A Jamaica Plain post of the American Legion was ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution after organizers and attendees of a sweet sixteen birthday party there said staff racially discriminated against them.
The assurance of discontinuance, entered in Suffolk Superior Court last Monday, resolves a number of allegations of discrimination made against the Post by thoseattendees, according to a statement from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office.
“This action resolves allegations that guests were treated as suspect and subjected to ignorant and racially discriminatory comments,” Healey wrote.“No one in Massachusetts should be discriminated against based on their race and we need to continue to find ways to reject and end both explicit and implicit bias in all its forms.”
Healey’s office alleged that in January 2015, an African American woman reserved a space at the hall for her daughter’s birthday party that June.
When planners arrived, a bartender “questioned them about the event and initially refused to host the party, saying that those who attended the party—presumably African American teenagers—could be ‘gang members’ and might ‘get drunk and shoot the place,’” according to a statement.
The same bartender also allegedly harassed an African American photographer who arrived to take photos of the festivities, suggesting that the man might be carrying a gun and requiring him to open his bags so they could be searched.
Guests also heard staff making derogatory comments through the night, the statement said.
The Post will also adopt a “comprehensive anti-discrimination policy” as part of the settlement, requiring all staff and volunteers at the facility to attend training on state and federal public accommodation laws.
They also pledged to host an annual event for The English High School Boston School Cadets Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, and sponsor students to attend the American Legion Boys and Girls State leadership programs.