August 2010 Coach's Quiz
We have given you five rules to help your community prevent and defend against fair housing retaliation claims. Now let's look at how the rules might apply in the real world. Take the COACH's Quiz to see what you have learned.
INSTRUCTIONS: Each of the following questions has only one correct answer. On a separate piece of paper, write down the number of each question, followed by the answer you think is correct—for example, 1)b, 2)a, and so on. The correct answers (with explanations) follow the quiz. Good luck!
A resident recently filed a sexual harassment claim against one of your maintenance workers, but she soon withdrew the complaint, admitting that she just made it up because he spurned her advances. Her false accusations stirred up trouble for the worker and his family, and your entire staff is angry and upset every time they see her. If you don't renew her lease when it expires next month, could you face liability under the FHA's retaliation provisions?
Several years ago, a resident filed a religious discrimination complaint with state fair housing officials, but the case was dismissed. For the past six months, the resident has repeatedly failed to pay her rent in full or on time, but she says you can't evict her because of her prior discrimination complaint. Is she right?
You just hired a new employee, who has been critical of your management staff and your policies and procedures. Coworkers have complained that she is not a “team player” and report that they've overheard her advising applicants to contact HUD regarding possible discrimination complaints. Since she has caused nothing but problems in your office during the short time she has worked there, you can terminate her employment without worrying about possible liability under the FHA's retaliation provisions. True or false?
Coach's Answers & Explanations
Correct answer: a
Reason: Rule #1 applies here:
Rule #1: Done't Retaliate Against Anyone Who Raises Discrimination Concerns
You could trigger a retaliation claim if you do not renew the resident's lease because she filed the sexual harassment complaint. The retaliation provisions make it unlawful to interfere with anyone in the exercise or enjoyment of her rights under the FHA—that is, to file a fair housing complaint—even though, in this case, the resident's claims of sexual harassment turned out to be groundless.
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rule #2 applies here:
Rule #2: Don't Ignore Lease Violations, But Be Prepared for Potential Retaliation Claim
You do not have to tolerate a resident's serious lease violations just because she has filed a prior discrimination complaint against your community. To win a retaliation claim, she would have to prove that you evicted her because of her prior fair housing complaint. Since it has been years since she filed that complaint, you should be able to fend off a retaliation claim as long as you can prove that you have a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for evicting her—and that you didn't single her out for discriminatory reasons.
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rule #5 applies here:
Rule #5: Don't Retaliate Against Employees or Others Who Raise Discrimination Concerns
The employee could accuse you of violating fair housing law if you fire her because she was advising applicants to contact HUD about potential fair housing problems. The FHA bans retaliation against employees and others on account of their having aided or encouraged anyone in the exercise or enjoyment of his fair housing rights.
See The Lesson For This Quiz
|Timing Is Everything: Avoiding And Defending Against Retaliation Claims|