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Sex Discrimination and the Fair Housing Act

Posted on 22. Apr, 2018 by

The second wave of the Women’s Movement gained significant traction in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Activists fought on multiple fronts, including for legal equality based on sex. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 made sex-based discrimination unlawful in employment and education, respectively. These two laws influenced the eventual inclusion of sex in the protections guaranteed by the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974.

When the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was originally passed, it prohibited discrimination in all housing transactions based on race, color, religion, and national origin. It was not until 1974 that sex was added to the list of protected classes. Before then, sex discrimination was widespread in rentals, sales, mortgage lending and other transactions.

Despite legal protections, however, sex discrimination continues. Banks have been found to deny mortgage applications from home-buyers who are on maternity leave based on assumptions about the borrowers’ plans and future income. This type of discrimination is not only illegal under the Fair Housing Act, but also under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Predatory loans, those that are designed to fail, are also most frequently targeted at women of color.

If you believe that you or someone you know has experienced discrimination, you can file a complaint here or call GNOFHAC at (877) 445-2100 for free and confidential help.

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