HUD Announces Fair Housing Act Charges Against Milwaukee Property Owner
Sam Leaf, the property owner, and manager Dennis Parker operate a 19-unit property in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are charged with discriminating “against a former male tenant because of his sexual orientation and disability” according to a press release on the HUD official site.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the housing process at any stage. Illegal discrimination includes sexual harassment, inappropriate questions about religion or orientation, family status, and much more.
A Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, describes sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act as including “...discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity” according to HUD.
We mention this because such problems are Included in this Fair Housing case. HUD reports allegations that the property manager Dennis Parker, “...harassed the tenant because of his sexual orientation and disabilities.”
Parker’s alleged harassment included” making unwelcome, sexually aggressive verbal comments; demanding sexual favors; sending unwanted, threatening, and degrading text messages; and using slurs and other demeaning language about the tenant’s sexual orientation and disability“ according to the HUD press release.
The tenant reported this harassment to the authorities and as a result, HUD alleges, the tenant was subject to reprisals and also physically assaulted.
“No one should feel unwelcome or unsafe in the sanctity of their own homes because of their sexual orientation or disability,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who is quoted in the HUD press release. McCain adds, “Violating these rights is not only unacceptable, it is illegal.”
HUD’s Fair Housing charges in this case will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless anyone involved in the charge requests to have the case heard in federal district court.
Have you had a similar experience with housing discrimination? Have you encountered a different type of housing discrimination? In any case, report the problem to HUD by calling (800) 669-9777 (voice) 800-927-9275 (TTY). You can also contact the Department of Justice at (800) 896-7743 for assistance.
Remember, sometimes the only people with the power to stop future violations of the Fair Housing Act are the victims of the discrimination. If you don’t report Fair Housing violations to HUD, any alleged perpetrator is allowed to continue repeating the cycle of discrimination. It is best to report all violations immediately to the agencies listed above.
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