Her knowledge of fair housing laws gave her courage to take action.
Chelsae was excited about her new job.
She was continuing her career path as a rental agent and her job with Fontaine Gardens Apartments seemed like a step in the right direction. The new full-time position was higher paying, had stable hours, and included a free apartment. She signed a two-year contract and was eager to start work.
On January 26, 2015, the day Chelsae began her new job, her employer, Dr. Sakti Pramanik, instructed her to discriminate against prospective tenants on the basis of familial status.
Dr. Pramanik allegedly told her that one-bedroom apartments should only be rented to “a single person or a couple…no kids.” Thanks to her knowledge of fair housing law, Chelsae asked, “So you would not rent a one-bedroom to a single mother with a child?” He affirmed that was correct. Chelsae immediately told Dr. Pramanik that this was illegal but he allegedly stated this was how they do business.
Chelsae left the office after her first day of work and called the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan. We investigated the case through the use of undercover testing and found evidence to support her claim of illegal housing discrimination based on familial status. A lawsuit was filed in Federal Court on October 14, 2015, and last month Chelsae accepted an undisclosed amount to settle her case.