N.C. Housing Agency and Employees Sued for Sexual Harassment
The Justice Department recently sued a public housing agency that administers the Section 8 voucher program in North Carolina, along with two of its employees, for sexual harassment in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
The complaint alleged that the employees—the Section 8 housing coordinator and the housing inspector—subjected female program participants and applicants to unwanted sexual comments, sexual touching, and other sexual acts; conditioned or offered Section 8 benefits in exchange for sexual acts; and took adverse housing actions against those who rebuffed their sexual advances. The complaint claimed that the men engaged in this conduct while exercising their authority as employees of the housing agency, which failed to take reasonable preventive or corrective measures.
The suit seeks monetary damages to compensate victims, civil penalties, and a court order requiring additional preventive measures. The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct; the allegations must be proven in federal court.
“No one, including those who seek public assistance for housing benefits, should be subjected to sexual harassment, particularly by the very people tasked with providing critical assistance,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “The Justice Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act against those who abuse their power and authority.”
Source: U.S. Department of Justice