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What is harassment? HUD rule clarifies protections

WASHINGTON – Oct. 29, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule that will formalize housing harassment standards to help victims file a claim under the Fair Housing Act.
The proposed rule, “Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices under the Fair Housing Act,” was published in the Federal Register and is now accepting public comments.
No formal regulation currently exists that defines harassment, even though HUD and courts have consistently held the opinion that harassment is prohibited on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status. HUD says the new proposed rule specifies how claims of “hostile environment” and “quid pro quo” harassment would be evaluated in both private and publicly assisted housing.
“The rule HUD is proposing is designed to better protect victims of harassment by offering greater clarity for how to handle a claim against an abuser,” says HUD Secretary Julián Castro.
Sexual harassment is the most common form of harassment complaint received by HUD. In relation to housing, harassment threatens a resident’s sense of safety and privacy in their own home, and victims generally can’t escape the harassment without moving. HUD says that low-income women – often racial and ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities – are particularly vulnerable.
HUD’s proposed rule will formalize uniform standards for evaluating two types of hostile environment claims:
Hostile Environment Harassment. This subjects a person to unwelcome “sufficiently severe or pervasive” conduct that interferes or deprives a person of his or her ability to use and enjoy the housing.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment. Quid Pro Quo includes an unwelcome request or demand, and it makes a resident’s submission a condition related to the person’s housing.
The rule clarifies the times when a housing provider can be held directly or vicariously liable under the Fair Housing Act for illegal harassment or other discriminatory housing practices.
HUD submitted its proposed rule for publication in the Federal Register. The general public has 60 days – a Dec. 21, 2015 deadline – from the date of publication to submit comments on the proposed rule.
© 2015 Florida Realtors®  
Source: Florida Realtors Feed

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