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Discrimination lawsuit against Midtown bar settled by Justice Department

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HOUSTON – A discrimination lawsuit against a Midtown bar and lounge was settled by the Justice Department on Thursday.

Ayman Jarrah and Land Guardian Inc., the owners and operators of 360 Midtown (formerly Gaslamp), were accused of discriminating against patrons on the basis of race, color and national origin.

“No individuals should be denied admission to any place of public accommodation because of the color of their skin,” said acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to protect the rights of all persons to be free from discrimination on the basis of their race or national origin at bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation.”

The lawsuit filed on Sept. 28, 2016, said that 360 Midtown, which previously operated as Gaslamp, "engaged in a pattern or practice of illegal conduct by implementing discriminatory practices to discourage or deny admission to African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American patrons."

The United States said that the practices included choosing to impose cover charges against minority customers and selectively enforcing a dress code against them.

“This settlement resolves serious allegations of racial discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. “The announcement today should make clear that any such illegal bias in these types of establishments will not be tolerated in this district and reflects my office’s continued commitment to vigorously enforcing our nation’s civil rights laws.”

Under the settlement agreement, Jarrah and Land Guardian Inc. are now "required to comply with federal law by not discriminating against patrons on the basis of race, color or national origin; to adopt and implement non-discriminatory admissions criteria; to implement a system for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination; and to conduct monitoring to ensure that 360 Midtown’s employees are acting in a non-discriminatory manner consistent with federal law."