Community Pays $550,000 to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

September 24, 2014
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The owners and operators of a Michigan community recently agreed to pay $550,000 and to terminate its property manager to settle a lawsuit for sexual harassment in violation of fair housing law.

The Justice Department filed the complaint, accusing the former manager of sexually harassing female residents at the community he managed. The lawsuit included the owners of the complex and claimed that they were liable for his actions.

The complaint alleged that the manager made unwelcome sexual comments and sexual advances to female residents, touched himself in a sexual manner in front of them, entered their homes without notice or permission, conditioned housing benefits on tenants engaging in sexual acts, and took adverse action against those who refused his advances.

Under the settlement, the community agreed to pay $510,000 to victims of the sexual harassment and a $40,000 penalty. The $510,000 will be used to pay damages to 13 women who have already been identified and to any additional victims who are identified through the process established in the settlement agreement.

The settlement also prohibits all of the defendants from engaging in discrimination, and it requires that the owners create nondiscrimination policies for their properties and participate in fair housing training to prevent such conduct in the future. It also bars the former manager from personally participating in the management or operation of residential rental properties in the future and requires him to retain an independent manager to manage any rental properties he may later own.

“The magnitude of this settlement reflects the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct,” Molly Moran, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “No woman or her family should have to endure sexual harassment to keep the keys to their home.”

Source: U.S. Department of Justice