Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 9, 2018

Justice Department Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Owner of Cullman, Alabama, Rental Property

The Justice Department today announced that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that Randy Hames, a residential property owner and landlord in Cullman, Alabama, subjected female tenants to egregious sexual harassment in violation of the Fair Housing Act.  Along with Randy Hames, the Department’s complaint names his residential property company, Hames Marina, LLC, as a defendant. 

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, alleges that since at least 2011, Hames sexually harassed numerous women who lived in the defendants’ residential property. The suit alleges that Hames’s conduct included demanding or pressuring female tenants to engage in sexual acts with him in exchange for rent or to prevent eviction; evicting female tenants when they refused his advances; making female tenants feel unsafe by stalking them and entering their residences without permission; and making unwelcome sexual comments and advances.

“Subjecting female tenants to harassment and demands for sex is offensive and illegal,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “The Justice Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act against landlords who engage in this reprehensible conduct. No woman should feel unsafe in her own home.” 

“The alleged behavior of Randy Hames is abhorrent and repulsive. We will not let women, or any person, in our district be threatened, harassed, or retaliated against by landlords,” said U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town for the Northern District of Alabama. “The Fair Housing Act is an extraordinary tool that allows the Department of Justice to protect all tenants from egregious misconduct, like sexual harassment, and we will continue to strongly enforce all violations of it.”

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative (SHHI) was launched in October 2017 and expanded nationally in April 2018.  The initiative specifically seeks to increase the Department’s efforts to protect individuals from harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security guards, loan officers, or other people who have control over housing.  The Justice Department has filed or settled 10 sexual harassment cases and has recovered over $1.6 million for victims of sexual harassment in housing since Jan. 20, 2017.  Today’s 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 federal court.

Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of sexual harassment or discrimination at rental dwellings owned or operated by Randy Hames or Hames Marina, or who have other information that may be relevant to this case, should contact the Housing Discrimination Tip Line, by calling 1-800-896-7743, pressing 1 to continue in English, and selecting mailbox 7 to leave a message.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.  More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.justice.gov/crt

Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of sexual harassment in housing should call the Justice Department at 1-844-380-6178, send an e-mail to fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at 1-800-669-9777.  If you have information or questions about any other housing discrimination, you can contact the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743.

Updated July 9, 2018