In late 2011, GNOFHAC received a call from a woman in Shreveport in desperate need of housing for her and her children. After a few minutes of conversation, the woman disclosed that she was fleeing her current apartment because of ongoing sexual harassment she was enduring from her landlord.
Few people are aware that such harassment can be classified as a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act, but the reality is that sexual harassment in housing often occurs on the basis of a tenant’s sex. “Sex” is one of the seven protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, therefore a landlord who sexually harasses his renter can sometimes be taken to court for housing discrimination.
Soon after we took the call from the original victim, two more women who had also rented from the landlord in question came forward to tell similar disturbing stories. The three brave women filed a lawsuit in federal court last year against their former landlord, bringing allegations of discrimination during and even after their tenancy. The courageous actions of these women have the potential to affect many other women in their community, as the landlord who harassed them owns more than 20 rental properties around Shreveport, and manages them himself.
The sexual harassment case was settled this month because of the rigorous work of GNOFHAC’s attorneys and clients. The settlement not only provides financial relief to each woman, but also restricts the landlord from visiting any of his rental properties unaccompanied, and requires him to complete fair housing training and implement a non-discrimination policy at all of his properties. GNOFHAC and our clients are confident that he’ll no longer be able to engage in the same discriminatory conduct in the future.
Discriminatory harassment can take many forms in housing. It is illegal for a landlord, maintenance worker, or apartment manager to harass you because of your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or family size. If you feel you’ve experienced discriminatory harassment, please contact GNOFHAC at 504-596-2100 or file a complaint with us here.