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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

U.S. Attorney’s Office hosts roundtable to combat sexual harassment in housing

CINCINNATI – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division hosted a roundtable today for community organizations to discuss the problem of sexual harassment in housing, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.

 

U.S. Attorney Parker is asking anyone in the public who has witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager, maintenance worker, or anyone with control over housing to report that conduct to the Department of Justice.

 

The roundtable event included state and local fair housing agencies and numerous community organizations. Assistant United States Attorneys Ebunoluwa Taiwo (Criminal Division) and Michael Downey (Civil Division) and Trial Attorney Lauren Marks (Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section) outlined for the audience the unique roles the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office play in enforcing the Fair Housing Act.

 

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Act. For example, it is illegal for landlords to request sexual favors in exchange for reduced rents or making necessary repairs, to make unrelenting and unwanted sexual advances to tenants, or to evict tenants who resist their sexual overtures.

 

“My office is working closely with the Civil Rights Division to ensure that victims experiencing sexual harassment or who have previously experienced sexual harassment in housing in the past know how to connect with federal resources,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “Sexual harassment in housing is illegal, and we stand ready to investigate such allegations and pursue enforcement actions where appropriate.”

 

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country.

 

The Initiative has resulted in lawsuits filed across the country alleging a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in housing and recovered millions of dollars in damages for harassment victims. 

 

U.S. Attorney Parker encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in housing, or knows someone who has, to contact the Civil Rights Division by calling 844-380-6178 or emailing fairhousing@usdoj.gov.

 

Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may also provide information to the U.S. Attorney’s Office using the referral form at https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdoh.

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Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Updated June 21, 2022