Jeweller Jerry Osco, a super jeweler and a member of the Black Arts Club of Los Angeles, has been sued for racial discrimination.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in California on Thursday, Osco says he was denied service in a restaurant after the club’s board voted to prohibit him from doing business with other members.
He says the board’s action violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that he’s been denied service for more than 20 years.
Osco is seeking damages for his race, gender, disability and religion.
Oschocs attorney, Peter Koehler, told The Associated Press in an interview that the case was filed in the Northern District of California, a jurisdiction that encompasses parts of Oregon and Washington.
He said Osco had no intention of seeking the damages sought by Oscos lawsuit.
Osso says he began working as a super-saucer and restaurant assistant in 1967, when he was 13.
Oscos lawsuit claims the board of directors of the Super Saver Club of Southern California was unaware of his disabilities and denied him service, saying his age and disability made it impossible for him to serve.
Oscoro says he is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that says the club is entitled to the benefits of Title VII of the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Act of 1964 and that Osco has suffered no discrimination.
Oscores lawsuit claims that the board is violating federal civil rights law because it is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, religion or sex.
Oscuros attorney, David Wiesenfeld, said the lawsuit is the latest effort by Oscoros supporters to use Title VII’s protections for minorities to challenge discriminatory practices.
“He has never been discriminated against on any basis, period,” Wiesanfeld said.
This is not discrimination. “
We are the minority and we deserve to be treated equally.
This is not discrimination.
This was a misunderstanding.”
Osco joined the club in 1969 and has been an honorary member since 1980.
He’s been involved in several community events including the Black Belt Ball in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, and a community concert series called “Roots.”
Oscorós suit alleges that the club board is discriminating against Osco by excluding him from its membership, because Osco does not qualify as a disabled person.
The lawsuit also accuses the board, which is composed of white people, of violating the Americans With Disabilities act.
Osca is seeking unspecified damages for the alleged discrimination, and for damages for other causes.
Oscalos attorney says Oscorosos lawsuit is about “justice and equality.”
Oscorós lawsuit asks the court to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the board from enforcing its discriminatory actions, and to require it to conduct an investigation into the alleged discriminatory conduct and conduct that may have occurred.
Oscostos lawsuit also seeks unspecified monetary damages for discrimination.
The Super Savers Club of Culm, which has branches in Los Angeles and Orange counties, was founded in 1953 and was incorporated in 1968.
The board, known by its acronym in Southern California as SSA, is comprised of white, Hispanic and Asian members.
The club was founded by Oscurós father, Charles, and the club continues to hold monthly events.
The restaurant chain has a long history of racial discrimination and discriminatory practices, including a racist motto in the front of its restaurant in Culver city, which read “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
The slogan was adopted in 1968 by the club to encourage employees to get off the job.
In 1991, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified Osco as a member, saying he was a member for 10 years.
He joined the board in 2000.
The SSA was formed in 1971, according to its website.