Landlord Accused of 'Severe, Pervasive' Sexual Harassment

Last month, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) filed suit against a New Orleans landlord for discrimination on the basis of sex, including severe, pervasive, and unwelcome sexual harassment; battery; and assault.

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, it’s unlawful to deny a person housing or offer them different terms, conditions, or privileges because of sex. It’s also illegal to interfere with a tenant’s enjoyment of the premises due to coercion, intimidation, harassment, threats, or interference.

According to the complaint, the landlord subjected a female resident, referred to as “Jane Doe,” to multiple incidents of sexual harassment between December 2008 and January 2010. Allegedly, the landlord propositioned the resident for naked photographs or sexual activity in exchange for the landlord paying bills, forgiving rental payments, or making legally obligated repairs to her unit. When she refused his unwanted advances, the landlord allegedly took steps to evict her. The complaint claimed that the landlord’s pervasive conduct created a hostile living environment that caused the resident to live in fear for her safety and the safety of her children.

During Ms. Doe’s tenancy, the landlord allegedly subjected at least three other female residents to sexual harassment and discrimination of a similar nature, according to GNOFHAC. Its staff believes that the landlord might have engaged in this type of behavior with numerous female residents over the course of several years, so it’s urging other women who may have experienced sexual harassment in housing to contact the fair housing center.

To train your staff on preventing sexual harassment claims at your community, see the Coach’s October 2011 lesson, “Complying with Fair Housing Rules Banning Sex Discrimination,” available in our online Archive.

Source: Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center