WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a $95,000 settlement to resolve a lawsuit, filed in 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, alleging sexual harassment of female tenants by Ersil James, a former maintenance worker at three Missouri apartment complexes in Platte City and Smithville.
The lawsuit alleges that Ersil James sexually harassed female tenants in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit further alleges that Action Management & Consulting Services LLC, which manages the subject properties, and its on-site manager Dan Miller discriminated by failing to take action to prevent defendant James from continuing to harass female tenants. The lawsuit also alleges that the owners of some of the complexes, Missouri Rural Housing of Platte City L.P. and its general partner, MACO Management Co. Inc., were liable for those actions.
The consent decree, pending approval by the court, will require the defendants to pay $75,000 to four victims and $20,000 to the United States to vindicate the public interest. In addition, defendants are required to establish a sexual harassment policy and provide training to employees.
“Being sexually harassed in one’s own apartment robs the victim of the very security that makes a house a home,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Through this settlement, the Department of Justice has helped to ensure that these and other women will feel safe in their residences.”
The lawsuit arose as a result of a charge of discrimination issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. Since Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 244 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, including 16 cases alleging sexual harassment. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line (1-800-896-7743), email the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.