FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
LANDLORD PAYS $100,000 TO SETTLE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HOUSING BIAS AND SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT
WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Department of Justice today announced the settlement of a lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination by the owner of several Sacramento and Auburn California apartment complexes under the Fair Housing Act.
The complaint, filed in May of 2002 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleged that the owner violated the Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing and discriminating against female tenants. The owner paid $100,000 in damages and civil penalties to settle the matter.
“It is unconscionable that female tenants would ever be denied the security of their own homes because of sexual harassment,”said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Women are all too frequently victimized in this manner, and the Justice Department will hold accountable landlords who engage in such discrimination.”
The complaint alleged that the owner subjected female tenants at his apartments to unwelcome and uninvited sexual harassment, including sexual comments, and that he created a hostile environment for female tenants. This included entering apartments without permission, and refusing visits by male guests.
Under the terms of the agreement, which requires court approval, the owner will:
"Our office will vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act and ensure that women remain free from sexual harassment and intimidation in their homes," said United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott. "Our commitment to civil rights must be unwavering."
The matter was referred to the Department of Justice by the Sacramento Human Rights/Fair Housing Commission after a number of female tenants complained to the Commission about illegal discrimination. Since January 2001, the Division has filed 115 Fair Housing Act cases, including six sexual harassment cases.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status (having children under the age of 18). Persons who believe that they have been victims of unlawful housing discrimination should contact the U.S. Department of Housing of Urban Development (HUD) at 1-800-669-9777 or the U.S. Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743 or 202-514-4713. Additional information is available on the HUD website at www.hud.gov and the DOJ website at www.usdoj.gov.