Community Pays $30K to Settle Alleged Discrimination Against Somali Testers

August 19, 2013
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Last week, the Justice Department announced that a Minnesota community and its property management company agreed to pay $30,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging discrimination against Somali prospects on the basis of race and national origin.

The case was based on evidence gathered by the department’s fair housing testing program, which allegedly revealed discrimination by a former employee of the property management company against Somali testers posing as prospective renters. According to the complaint, the former property manager showed white testers apartments when they walked in, but she told Somali testers that they had to make an appointment for a showing the next day. She also allegedly failed to tell Somali testers about certain apartments becoming available that she mentioned to white testers.

In addition to paying $30,000 in civil penalties, the community and the property management company agreed to maintain a nondiscrimination policy, provide employees with fair housing training, and submit periodic reports to the government.

“Treating people differently because of their race or national origin when they are looking for a place to live is a fundamental affront to American values,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels said in a statement. “This settlement demonstrates that the Civil Rights Division Housing Testing Program is an important tool in combating discrimination.”

Source: U.S. Department of Justice