The Wing, the multi-city private social club and co-working space, has become famous for its millennial pink-hued space, which is designed for women, run by women and inhabited by women. Now, the two-year old club – which was founded by former political staffer Audrey Gelman and business partner Lauren Kassan and which currently boasts more than 1,500 members in New York – is being investigated by the New York City Commission on Human Rights in connection with its women-only membership policy.
According to Jezebel, Gelman and Kassan are slated to meet with New York City Commission on Human Rights, which contacted The Wing early this month, in connection with how anti-discrimination laws apply to The Wing, whose women-only policy not only extends to members but to employees, as well. New York City’s Human Rights Law (Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York) prohibits discrimination in New York City in connection with employment, housing, and public accommodations.
The Wing, which recently raised $32 million in funding from WeWork and New Enterprise Associates, would most likely fall into the latter, even though it is technically a members-only club. As such, it is prohibited from “refusing, withholding from or denying to such person the full and equal enjoyment, on equal terms and conditions, of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges of the place or provider of public accommodation” to individuals on the basis of their gender. Under New York law, this, according to no shortage of discrimination experts, includes protections for both men and women.
According to the city’s Human Rights Law, “Individuals are protected from discrimination in many areas, based on a number of protected classes,” including “age, perceived age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, caregiver status, sexual orientation, and alienage or citizenship status.”
“Anti-discrimination laws were passed to empower women and make sure they thrive in a world where the playing field has been tilted against them, which is precisely what The Wing does,” Dunn said. “It would turn these laws upside down to see them as being contrary to The Wing’s values and mission.”