Landlords in Three States Settle Sexual Harassment Claims

May 17, 2018
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HUD recently announced three settlements in fair housing complaints against communities in Florida, Virginia, and California. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination under fair housing law.

In Florida, the Jacksonville Housing Authority agreed to pay $75,000 to a female resident who alleged that a housing authority employee sexually harassed her on multiple occasions. The alleged harassment included unwelcome sexual comments, requests for sex or sexual favors, and threats of eviction if the resident did not submit to such requests. In addition to the monetary settlement, the housing authority agreed to adopt a new sexual harassment policy and require staff to attend fair housing training.

In Virginia, an independent living facility agreed to pay $37,500 to settle allegations that it failed to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of a female resident by another resident. The female tenant alleged that a male tenant harassed her with unwelcome and unsolicited advances, made suggestive comments, whistled at her, and followed her around the apartment complex.

In California, a landlord agreed to pay $12,000 to settle allegations that he repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances towards a male resident with a mental disability and ultimately evicted him for refusing the advances.

“Landlords are required to comply with the Fair Housing Act, the federal law that has banned housing discrimination for the last 50 years,” Anna María Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “It’s against the law to harass residents of housing because of sex, disability or any another protected characteristic. The settlements we are announcing today reflect HUD’s commitment to rooting out sexual harassment and all housing discrimination as we know it.”