Kentucky Landlords Accused of Sexual Harassment
The Justice Department recently announced that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that a husband and wife, as co-owners and managers of rental properties in Kentucky, violated fair housing law by subjecting female residents to sexual harassment and retaliation.
The lawsuit alleges that the husband sexually harassed several female residents since at least 2012. Among other things, he was accused of making repeated and unwelcome sexual comments, entering the homes of female residents without their consent, touching female residents’ bodies without their consent, requesting sexual favors, offering reduced or free rent in exchange for sexual favors, and taking adverse housing-related actions against female residents who refused his sexual advances. The lawsuit also alleged that the wife, who co-owned and managed the properties, threatened and retaliated against women who complained about her husband’s harassment.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties to vindicate the public interest, and a court order barring future discrimination. The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct; the allegations must be proven in federal court.
“No woman should have to endure sexual harassment to remain in her home,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from sexual harassment and retaliation by their landlords, and the Justice Department will hold accountable those who engage in such reprehensible and illegal conduct and will work tirelessly to obtain relief for their victims.”