McAllister joined the Department of Justice Thursday in recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Thursday announced a nationwide rollout of an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of reporting of sexual harassment in housing.
“The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was, and remains, landmark legislation in this country,” McAllister said. “Recently, the Act has been used to combat sexual harassment by landlords and their employees who sometimes have considerable financial influence over the lives of their tenants. Such behavior by landlords is not only reprehensible, it violates federal law. Our office is working to combat such behavior in Kansas, and victims of such misconduct should report their situation to the authorities.”
Last month in Kansas, McAllister’s office and the Justice Department filed an amended complaint alleging a Wichita landlord violated the Fair Housing Act. Thong Cao, doing business as Cao Properties and Rentals, is alleged to have sexually harassed women who lived in apartments he managed and then evicted them when they refused his advances.
The Justice Department’s initiative includes an interagency task force between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Justice Department to combat sexual harassment in housing, an outreach toolkit, and a public awareness campaign. This three-pronged approach will strengthen the Department’s efforts to combat sexual harassment in housing.
“Sexual harassment in housing is illegal, immoral, and unacceptable,” said Attorney General Sessions. “It is all too common today, as too many landlords, managers, and their employees attempt to prey on vulnerable women. We will not hesitate to pursue these predators and enforce the law.”
The Justice Department’s Fair Housing initiative will include a new HUD-DOJ Task Force to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing that will drive a shared strategy between the Department and HUD for combatting sexual harassment in housing across the country. It will focus on five key areas: continued data sharing and analysis, joint development of training, evaluation of public housing complaint mechanisms, coordination of public outreach and press strategy, and review of federal policies.
More information about the Civil Rights Division and the civil rights laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of sexual harassment in housing should call the Department at 1-844-380-6178, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777. If you have information or questions about any other housing discrimination, you can contact the Department at 1-800-896-7743.