U.S. Attorney’s Office Hosts Roundtable on Sexual Harassment in Housing

U.S. Attorney’s Office Hosts Roundtable on Sexual Harassment in Housing

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division hosted a roundtable today for community organizations to discuss the problem of sexual harassment in housing, U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino announced. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who has witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager, maintenance worker, or anyone with control over housing to report that conduct to the Department of Justice.

“Sexual harassment in housing is underreported and hard to detect,” U.S. Attorney Restaino said. “Landlords and others with control over housing often commit egregious violations of the Fair Housing Act by using their power over tenants to extort sexual acts, or even commit assaults. Our office is committed to uncovering such intolerable violations and vigorously enforcing the law.”

The Department of Justice, through the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Civil Rights Division, enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Act.

Today’s roundtable was hosted as part of the Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative (https://www.justice.gov/crt/sexual-harassment-housing-initiative), an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing across the country. The Justice Department’s initiative seeks to identify barriers to reporting sexual harassment in housing, increase awareness of the Justice Department’s enforcement efforts, and collaborate with federal, state, and local partners to increase reporting and help people who have experienced sexual harassment quickly and easily connect with federal resources. Roundtable discussions like the one U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino hosted today are one way to increase awareness and build strong partnerships in the community to combat the problem together.

Launched in 2017, the Initiative has filed 26 lawsuits across the country alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered over $9.6 million in damages for harassment victims. The Justice Department’s investigations frequently uncover sexual harassment that has been ongoing for years. Many individuals do not know that being sexually harassed by a housing provider can violate federal law or that the Department of Justice may be able to help.

The Department encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in housing, or knows someone who has, to submit a report online or contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona by calling (602) 528-7299, visiting https://www.justice.gov/usao-az, or by emailing USAAZ.CivRightsCompl@usdoj.gov.

Individuals may also file a complaint alleging harassment or discrimination in housing with the Department of Housing and Urban Development through HUD’s website or by calling (800) 669-9777.

RELEASE NUMBER:    2022-182_Sexual Harassment in Housing Roundtable

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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/

Follow the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, on Twitter @USAO_AZ for the latest news.

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