Subtle Discrimination: Just as Illegal as Blatant Discrimination

Fair housing law bans even subtle forms of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status. Most people understand that it’s illegal to blatantly refuse to rent to protected groups, yet studies show persistently high levels of more subtle forms of discrimination, particularly against African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.

For example, the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center recently reported that its testing uncovered high levels of rental housing discrimination against people of color and families with children in the Greater Denver Metro Area.

The testing was conducted in late 2013 to measure the nature and extent of rental housing discrimination due to race, national origin, and the presence of children in the home. The center conducted 68 tests—involving 34 paired testers—at 28 rental housing communities in the Denver Metro Area.

The results showed that African-American prospects encountered discrimination 67 percent of the time in their search for rental housing, while Latinos were subjected to discrimination 91 percent of the time. When testing for familial status, testers without children in the home were treated more favorably than those with children 73 percent of the time. According to the report, all three groups experienced differential treatment, such as receiving less information or being quoted higher rent, than their counterparts.

The report, “Access Denied: A Report on Rental Housing Discrimination in the Denver Metro Area,” is available for download here.

To learn more about avoiding subtle discrimination, which comes in at #2 on the Coach’s list of “Top 10 Things You Should Know to Prevent Discrimination Claims,” subscribers can click here.