COACH's Pop Quiz!
Q: Several employees in the leasing office have been out sick, leaving the office short-staffed. You expect them back soon, but you need someone to help answer the phones and cover the office for a week or two. You can’t man the office yourself, but you have a friend who’s between jobs and available to help out until the employees are back on their feet. Even if you both agree that he’s not an employee, you could face fair housing trouble for what he says or does when dealing with prospects. True or false?
A: True. In a recent ruling, a court held the owner of an Oregon community liable for discriminatory statements made by a friend who was covering the office in exchange for a place to stay. Even though they agreed that he wasn’t an employee, the court said that the owner could be held accountable for what the friend said and did when dealing with prospects. For further details about what led to the court’s decision, see the full summary of the case in the April 2015 issue of Fair Housing Coach, “From the Courts: Lessons Learned on Fair Housing Law,” available to subscribers here.