DFEH Settles Sexual Harassment Case Against Gilroy Landlord
February 26, 2020
For Immediate Release
Estate Agrees to pay $155,000 to settle claims that landlord sexually harassed a tenant
Sacramento – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has settled a sexual harassment case involving a young mother who alleged her landlord subjected her to requests for sex and other inappropriate conduct over several years.
The tenant filed a complaint with the DFEH in August 2017 alleging that her landlord, after learning her husband moved out, began texting and calling her asking for dates and making lewd comments about her physical appearance. The tenant alleged that the landlord’s behavior worsened over time at the 2-unit residential property: he left her explicit voicemail messages, entered the apartment when nobody was home, and was seen looking through the unit’s windows on multiple occasions.
DFEH found cause to believe that violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act had occurred and filed suit with the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara County against the deceased landlord’s estate and the property’s co-owner (Case number 18CV332885). Project Sentinel, a California fair housing organization, intervened in the case.
“It is intolerable that anyone should experience harassment as a condition of having a place to live,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “We encourage anyone who experiences sexual harassment in housing to file a complaint, and we will continue to hold landlords to account.”
Defendants will pay $155,000 to settle the case, including damages to the tenant and to Project Sentinel, and attorney’s fees and costs to DFEH. Defendants have also agreed that renting the unit in the future will trigger an obligation to develop a new anti-discrimination policy, distribute that policy and fair housing brochures to tenants, and undergo fair housing training.
Staff Counsel Adam Chayes and David Cullen represented the DFEH in this proceeding.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.
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