New Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Fair Housing Suit Also Alleges National Origin Bias
Sarah Yoder contacted the Fair Housing Center in August 2018 to file a sexual harassment complaint against Ryan McDonell. Ms. Yoder, a 39-year-old Native American woman, stated that she had gone to view a one-bedroom house listed for $700/month in Lansing and that Mr. McDonell gave her a tour.
Later that day, she asked Mr. McDonell, via text, if the rent was negotiable. McDonell responded; “I bet your (sic) more fun to negotiate with in person.” Later text messages include asking Ms. Yoder to do a striptease for him. Ms. Yoder’s text response was that she was “not a prostitute or a stripper” and she declined to respond to his subsequent text messages, including him asking “u mad that I asked u to wear something cute so I could check u out?”
The case, filed in Federal Court on September 9, 2019, has been assigned to the honorable Robert J. Jonker.
Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan PO Box 7825, Ann Arbor, MI 48107 (877) 979-FAIR www.fhcmichigan.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 15, 2019
Fair Housing Centers of Michigan Plan Statewide Day of Action toOppose HUD’s Attempt to Gut Core Civil Rights Protection
The Fair Housing Centers of Metropolitan Detroit, Southeast & Mid Michigan, Southwest Michigan, and West Michigan are calling for a statewide day of action for housing rights. Organizations and individuals should plan to submit comments opposing the changes to the Fair Housing Act at www.DefendCivilRights.org on Wednesday, October 16th.
Please use the hashtags #DefendCivilRights and #DefendMICivilRights in any social media posts.
The four independent fair housing centers recently published an op-ed in The Detroit Free Press – “Trump administration housing rule change would weaken important tool” – and each center has been holding public comment parties, submitting official agency comments, and conducting education and outreach through social media and email blasts.
The Fair Housing Centers are encouraging folks to Speak Out! Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan Director Pam Kisch states, “We want to fill up the day with comments. Just five minutes of your time can help stop the rollback of this key civil rights tool. There is so much on the line here and we need your help.”
Background: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a new rule in August with the potential to dismantle important civil rights protections against discrimination in housing.
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of housing and in other housing-related activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. However, HUD’s new rule proposes to eliminate the use of “disparate impact” in determining housing discrimination and to raise the burden of proof required to prove discrimination. Moreover, the new rule proposes to release lenders and landlords from responsibility for computer-based algorithms that discriminate while automating decisions about credit scoring, home insurance, and mortgage interest rates.
Since 1977 the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit, a private, non-profit, citizen based organization has worked to help assure equal housing opportunities throughout the metropolitan Detroit area.
The Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan, founded in 1992, actively protects the civil rights of those who are discriminated against in the rental, sale, or financing of housing through investigation, education, advocacy, and legal action. The FHC has an eight-county service area – Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, and Washtenaw.
The Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, a private non-profit organization, is committed to eliminating all forms of housing discrimination in Southwest Michigan through fair housing education, enforcement and advocacy. We currently serve 9 counties in Southwest Michigan: Allegan, Barry, Branch, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren.
The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan is a private, non-profit fair housing organization committed to providing comprehensive fair housing services, including education, outreach, research, advocacy and enforcement. We currently serve 12 counties in western Michigan: Allegan, Grand Traverse, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa.
The Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan (FHC) announces the resolution of a complaint based on familial status discrimination, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, filed against Management Resources Development, Inc. (MRD).
MRD is a property management and construction company with its headquarters in East Lansing, Michigan. MRD owns and/or manages over 9,000 properties, including apartments, in 10 states.
The complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleged that MRD engaged in systemic discrimination against families with children across properties in Michigan and Indiana by enforcing an overly-restrictive occupancy policy of no more than two people per bedroom regardless of a unit’s square footage.
The current administration is trying to roll-back an extremely important part of the Fair Housing Act, called the “Disparate Impact Rule.” This is an attack on housing and civil rights that could deeply impact communities of color, families with children, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.
Join us on Tuesday, October 8th, from 5:00 to 6:30 PM at Sycamore Creek Church, 1919 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing MI 48910. We will meet in the Connection Cafe (to the left up the stairs from the main entrance). We will have pizza to share.
We’ll help you craft comments, tweets, and Facebook posts opposing the changes to the Disparate Impact Rule; together our voices can make a difference. Read our official comment to HUD here.
The Fair Housing Center has joined a diverse coalition of civil rights groups in a campaign to “Defend Civil Rights” aimed at mobilizing thousands of people across the country to oppose the proposed rule and sound the alarm on its widespread, harmful consequences.
We believe that if the rule is finalized, it would be virtually impossible to challenge covert discriminatory practices by financial institutions, insurance companies, and housing providers, and open the floodgates for widespread discrimination against millions of people, particularly communities of color, women, immigrants, families with children, people of faith, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.