Justice Department Combats Landlord Sexual Harassment in During COVID-19 Pandemic
During this economic uncertainty, many are taking advantage of those who are unemployed. There has been a rise in landlord sexual harassment as landlords are asking for sexual favors from their recently unemployed tenants. To help combat this, the Department of Justice created new enforcement tools to help victims of this form of harassment.
About Sexual Harassment
In 2017, close to 13,000 Americans filed sexual harassment complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are different forms of sexual harassment. Sometimes, this creates a hostile work environment when there is severe and ongoing sexually offensive behavior. There are also different liability rules. However, federal, state, and municipal laws clearly prohibit harassment based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Justice Department Combats COVID-19 Landlord Sexual Harassment
The Department of Justice has been receiving numerous reports of individuals experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, or others who control housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Justice Department enforces the Fair Housing Act. This Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion along with sexual harassment. The Department, in coordination with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities, will investigate these allegations and pursue enforcement actions.
Over 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment during the forced government shutdowns. Nearly one-third of Americans did not pay their April rent within the first five days of the month. As this economic downturn grows, many are taking advantage of people’s misfortune. There have been many complaints all over the country. The Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women already has 10 complaints on file since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Reporting COVID-19 Landlord Sexual Harassment
The Justice Department encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in housing to contact the Civil Rights Division or with the Department of Housing and Urban Development through HUD’s website.
It is important to know what steps to take if a landlord has sexually harassed you. First, under state and federal laws this behavior is illegal. Contacting a knowledgeable attorney like those at The Michael Brady Lynch Firm to help explain your rights is important. If you fear for your safety, call the police immediately. It is important that if you either call an attorney or officer and recount exactly what happened and where it transpired. If you have any messages or notes, it is important to let an attorney or police see these. These could include gifts, rent increase notices, warnings, or eviction notices. It is illegal for an eviction to take place after reporting harassment. You can also sue a harasser as well.
Free Landlord Sexual Harassment Consultation
If you have experienced sexual harassment in any form by your landlord, you should contact a qualified employment attorney as soon as possible. If the harassment has not stopped after making a formal complaint with your employer, consulting a harassment lawyer is your best option. Your attorney will be able to provide further guidance and help build a case to end the harassment.