Kansas Property Owners, Manager Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

The Justice Department recently announced that the owners and the manager of rental properties in Kansas will pay $160,000 in damages and penalties to resolve a Fair Housing Act lawsuit for sexual harassment.

The lawsuit was filed against the owners, a married couple, alleging that the husband sexually harassed numerous female residents since at least 2009 at residential properties he owned or operated in Wichita. The wife was named as a defendant in this lawsuit because she owned or co-owned certain rental properties at which the alleged harassment took place.

The lawsuit arose from two HUD complaints filed by former residents alleging that the husband engaged in harassment that included, among other things, making unwelcome sexual advances and comments, engaging in unwanted sexual touching, and terminating the tenancies of women who refused to engage in sexual conduct with him.

The settlement requires the couple to pay $15,000 to 11 former residents and a $5,000 civil penalty. The settlement also bars the couple from participating in the rental or management of residential properties in the future.

“Sexual harassment of women in their homes is indecent, destructive, and illegal,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “The Fair Housing Act protects the right of women and their families to live in peace and security and without the fear that deviant people will intimidate and bully them for sexual favors. This department will continue tirelessly to pursue landlords and others who abuse their authority by preying upon vulnerable women.”