Owners and Manager of Kansas Rental Properties Sued for Sexual Harassment

The Justice Department has sued the owners and manager of residential rental properties in Kansas for sexual harassment and retaliation against two female residents, according to a recent announcement by the Justice Department. The complaint alleges a pattern or practice of discrimination based on sex in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit arose from HUD complaint filed by the residents, who alleged that the property manager sexually harassed female residents at the rental properties from at least 2010 to 2014. Among other things, the manager was accused of making unwelcome sexual advances and comments, engaging in unwanted sexual touching, and evicting residents who refused to engage in sexual conduct with him.

“No woman should have to endure sexual harassment in order to remain in her home,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “Sexual harassment in housing is unacceptable and illegal, and landlords should be on notice that the Justice Department will continue to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act to combat this type of discrimination and to obtain relief for its victims.”

“Property owners and managers who use their position to seek sexual favors are not only violating a woman’s housing rights, they are creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation,” added Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to work with the Justice Department to take action to ensure that individuals that provide housing meet their obligation to comply with federal fair housing laws.”

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties, and a court order barring future discrimination. The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct. The allegations must be proven in court.

Editor’s Note: Fair Housing Coach recently hosted a webinar, “How to Reduce the Risk of Sexual Harassment Claims.” In this one-hour presentation, speaker Jessica Weisman explained:

  • What constitutes illegal sexual harassment under the Fair Housing Act and HUD rules;
  • Who can file a sexual harassment claim;
  • When owners can be liable for the sexual harassment committed by their managers, employees, and contractors; and
  • How to make sure community policies and procedures comply with the Violence Against Women Act.

You can get more information and download the webinar recording here.