Texas Community Pays $317,000 to Settle Discrimination Claim

January 29, 2014
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The Justice Department recently announced that a Texas community has agreed to pay $317,000 to settle a fair housing lawsuit alleging discrimination against persons of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.

The complaint alleged that, for several years, the owners, employees, and management company violated federal fair housing law by denying housing opportunities to persons of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent. Among other things, the property manager allegedly ordered leasing agents to misrepresent apartment availability based on the accent and perceived race or national origin of potential tenants. Allegedly, she also told them to segregate approved residents of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent into two buildings to isolate any smells allegedly associated with ethnic cuisine that the manager reportedly disliked.

The settlement requires payment of $107,000 in civil penalties and $210,000 in damages to compensate alleged victims of discrimination. In addition, the community agreed to fire the property manager, adopt a nondiscrimination policy, and take other corrective measures, such as training, record keeping, and monitoring.

“The Fair Housing Act ensures that people searching for a home are protected from discrimination, no matter what part of the world their family comes from,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels said in a statement.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice