CRD Settles College Student’s Housing Discrimination Complaint
August 10, 2022
For Immediate Release
U.C. Riverside will revise its housing emotional support animal request forms
Sacramento – The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) resolved a complaint by a U.C. Riverside undergraduate, who claimed along with her wife that the university denied her request to have an emotional support animal in university housing. The Fair Employment and Housing Act and the federal Fair Housing Act require housing providers to allow tenants to keep assistance animals in their dwellings if the animal is necessary to accommodate a disability.
Following the recommendation of a care provider, the complainant sought permission to keep a dog in university housing to alleviate symptoms associated with her disability. She claimed that the university imposed burdensome and unnecessary documentation requirements that she was unable to satisfy and asked her invasive questions for information that is not legally required to evaluate a reasonable accommodation request.
The parties resolved the complaint through voluntary mediation with the CRD’s Dispute Resolution Division. Through their settlement, the complainants will receive $13,000 and will be able to keep the dog in student housing for the coming school year. U.C. Riverside has also agreed to revise the form that it sends to medical providers to support requests for emotional support animals by removing questions about diagnosis and treatment that are not necessary to determine whether the student has a disabilityrelated need for the animal.
“Thanks to this important settlement, not only will the complainant be able to keep her emotional support animal during her final year of college, but other U.C. Riverside students will not have to go through the ordeals she did,” said CRD Director Kevin Kish. “Tenants, including college students living in university housing, have the right to assistance animals that accommodate their disabilities.” CRD Senior Attorney Mediator Pamela Cohen mediated the case.
CRD’s Dispute Resolution Division provides free, voluntary mediation with experienced mediators to the parties to pending DFEH complaints. More information about CRD mediation is available here.
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.