Fair Housing Act

Sexual orientation discrimination as a form of sex discrimination

While the West Virginia Supreme Court adopted the traditional view that discrimination because of sexual orientation is not a form of sex discrimination, State v. Butler, 2017 W. Va. LEXIS 333 (W.Va. 2017) (hate crime against two gay men did not constitute criminal civil rights violation willfully injuring a person "because of such other person's … sex"), the Seventh Circuit came to the...

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Another court holds that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination

A federal district court has held that discrimination because of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination. EEOC v. Scott Med. Health Ctr., P.C., 2016 U.S. DIst. LEXIS 153744 (W.D. Pa. 2016). Plaintiff complained of a sexually hostile work environment by deriding his sexual orientation. The court noted that "[t]here is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a detemination that a person should...

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Courts wrestle with sexual orientation discrimination

The law of sex discrimination has long suffered under the problem of distinguishing between discrimination based on sex and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia, as well as over one hundred municipalities, have laws prohibiting discrimination in the housing market on the basis of sexual orientation. Those jurisdictions include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon,...

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HUD Guidance on discriminatory refusals to rent to tenants with criminal records

Now that the Supreme Court has definitively found that the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601-3631, prohibits practices that have a disparate impact on protected groups, see Tex. Dept of Hous. & Comty. Affairs v. Inclusive Comtys. Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (U.S. 2015), consequences of that decision are becoming more clear. On April 4, 2016, the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development...

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Supreme Courts affirms disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act (with a caveat)

The United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Tex. Dep’t of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 2015 WL 2473449, — U.S. — (2015), upholding disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq. The case involved a challenge to criteria used by a state agency on where to give tax credits that subsidize construction of low-income housing. Plaintiff is a nonprofit organization that promotes housing for low-income families. It claimed that the...

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Fair Housing Act's Disparate Impact Claims at Issue

The Supreme Court has taken certiorari in a Fifth Circuit case to address the question of whether disparate impact claims are available under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq. Tex. Dep't of Hous. & Comty. Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 46 (2014), on appeal from The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Tex. Dep't of Hous. & Comty. Affairs, 747 F.3d 275 (5th Cir. 2014). All federal Circuit Courts to address the issue have...

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Housing discrimination by town officials still a problem

A number of recent cases has revealed the persistence of racial discrimination affecting municipal decisions about housing. The Sixth Circuit found, for example, in Hidden Village, LLC v. City of Lakewood, Ohio, 734 F.3d 519 (6th Cir. 2013), that town officials may have engaged in a campaign of harassment designed to induce African American residents to move out of town. The case involved a Lutheran religious organization that helped young people released from foster care or juvenile detention to enter...

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Settlement of Mount Holly case prevents Supreme Court from addressing disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act

The Supreme Court has twice in recent years accepted certiorari in cases to decide whether disparate impact claims are available under the Fair Housing Act. Both cases settled before the Supreme Court could determine the issue. The most recent was Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. v. Twp. of Mt. Holly, 658 F.3d 375 (3d Cir. 2011). The prior case was...

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Municipal attempt to induce residents to move because of race violates Fair Housing Act even if they do not move

The Sixth Circuit has held that §3617 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq., prohibits conduct intended to encourage residents to move even if they are not denied housing or induced to move. Hidden Village, LLC v. City of Lakewood, 2013 WL 5811642 (6th Cir. 2013). The basic provisions of the FHA (embodied in §3604) prohibit denying housing for discriminatory reasons, providing unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions for housing, and expressing an invidious preference for buyers or...

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