Antidiscrimination Law

Sexual harassment of tenant by property manager violates Fair Housing Act

The Eleventh Circuit joins other courts that have held that sexual harassment by a landlord (or an agent of the landlord) can constitute sex discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3601 to §3613 if the behavior would not have occurred but for the tenant's sex.

This formulation has been adopted by other courts, see United States v. Hurt, 676 F.3d 649 (9th Cir. 2012), Quigley v. Winter, 598 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2010), and suggests that a landlord that sexually harasses both men and women would not be liable for engaging in sex discrimination — a result that...

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Two customers of hotel awarded $475,000 each for denial of equal services under West Virginia state public accommodation law

Erik Taylor and James Turner sought long term rentals at a hotel to work on a local pipeline project in West Virginia. When Taylor called the hotel to inquire about long term apartment rooms, he was told they were available, only to be told the opposite by manager Cindy Kay Adams when he arrived. She falsely told him that there was a waiting list for those rooms...

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A third case granting a wedding provider a free speech exemption from an antidiscrimination law

For the third time, a court has held that a public accommodations law cannot be enforced against a service provider who objects, for religious reasons, to same sex marriage. Chelsey Nelson Photography, LLC v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Gov’t, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146246 (W.D. Ky. 2020). The other two times were: Telescope Media Group...

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Trump administration withdraws Obama era rules on “affirmatively furthering fair housing” (AFFH)

Although the Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires any government entity managing or receiving federal funds “affirmatively to further fair housing,” (AFFH), 42 U.S.C. §3608(e)(5), enforcement of this provision has been remarkably lax since the passage of the FHA in 1968.

 

The Obama Administration...

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City can enforce ban on pit bulls against resident who needs emotional support animal when he had other dogs that might serve that purpose

The Nebraska Supreme Court faced a claim by a resident that he had a right under fair housing laws to a reasonable accommodation of a city law that prohibited residents from owning pit bulls due to their perceived dangerousness. Wilkison v. City of Arapahoe, 926 N.W.2d 441 (Neb. 2019). Because the resident had other dogs, and he could not prove that they could not serve...

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Resolving conflicts between tenant with allergies and those needing support animals

In a case typical of a property law class, the Supreme Court of Iowa confronted a conflict between one tenant who needed an emotional support animal and another who was allergic to dogs. Cohen v. Clark, 945 N.W.2d 792 (Iowa 2020). The lease for both tenants contained a “no pets” clause. The question was whether the landlord had a duty under fair housing laws to make an exception...

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Both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination

Although decided under Title VII (employment discrimination) rather than the Fair Housing Act, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S.Ct. 1731 (2020) that both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination is quite likely to be extended to the housing context. Justice Gorsuch’s majority opinion focused on a textual...

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Nevada finds no right of reasonable access to public accommodations unless a state antidiscrimination statute confers such a right

The Supreme Court of Nevada held that businesses of public amusement (including casinos) have the right to exclude patrons at will unless a state or federal antidiscrimination law limits their discretion. Slade v. Caesars Entertainment Corp.,...

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Virginia prohibits sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing and public accommodations

By passage of the Virginia Values Act, Virginia joins 22 other states and the District of Columbia in prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations and housing (as well as employment). Va. Stat. §2.2-3904 and §36–96.3 (as amended by 2020 Va. H.B. 1663 (Feb. 27, 2020)).

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