Weekly Tip: Responding to Sexual Harassment Complaints - Grace Hill
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Training Tip of the Week: Responding to Sexual Harassment Complaints

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Grace Hill

Sexual harassment. Torn pieces of paper with the words sexual harassment. Concept Image. Black and White. Closeup.

Grace Hill Training Tip of the Week

Responding to Sexual Harassment Complaints

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects individuals against discrimination because of sex. Courts have consistently recognized sexual harassment as a form of discrimination that violates the FHA.


Q & A on Sexual Harassment under the Fair Housing Act


HUD aggressively pursues violations involving harassment in housing. In fact, since January 2017, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has filed or settled five cases and recovered over $1 million for victims of sexual harassment in housing.


Any individual or company that has witnessed or experienced housing discrimination, including sexual harassment, may file a complaint with HUD, free of charge. Complaints will often name individual property managers directly, in addition to the corporate entity or owner associated with the complainant’s housing. If a complaint has been filed against you, you will be notified by HUD, and you will have 10 days to respond. Here are some tips for staying on top of the situation, should you find yourself facing a complaint.


Prioritize mail from HUD. Due to the tight window a company has for responding to a complaint, make sure anyone responsible for collecting mail at your facilities is trained to give mail from HUD priority attention and to forward it to the appropriate person immediately.


A checklist to guide you through a sexual harassment complaint.
Should you find yourself facing a sexual harassment complaint, here are some tips for staying on top of the situation.

Respond to complaints. Although filing an answer is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged. Responding gives you an opportunity to give your version of the story and provide sufficient information that may convince HUD that it should not pursue the matter further.


Involve legal counsel early. Because your answer will become part of the official case record and any representations can and will be used against you in future proceedings, it is strongly encouraged that you seek the assistance of legal counsel in responding to a HUD complaint. In addition, legal counsel can likely negotiate an extension of time to respond.


Notify your insurance company early. As soon as you know a complaint has been filed, you should notify your insurance company. There may be insurance to cover the allegations of the complaint. If there is coverage, the insurance company will only be there to help you if they are notified early.


It is a situation we all hope we never have to face. However, in this time of increased awareness around harassment, it is important to have a game plan for a quick and appropriate response to harassment complaints.

Grace Hill’s marketing content team aims to create informative resources that help multifamily and commercial industry professionals elevate their performance. From blog posts and ebooks to infographics, checklists and webinars, the Grace Hill team has a singular focus: creating meaningful and engaging content that resonates with real estate professionals across the industry.  However, what makes Grace Hill so unique is the range of collective experience and collaborative spirit of its marketing content team. A group of talented writers with expertise in the real estate industry, overall management effectiveness, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency, the team provides new ideas to take performance to the next level. As a thought leader, Grace Hill's content team constantly pushes the envelope, experimenting with new resources and tools to keep industry professionals ahead of the curve.  Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out in the real estate industry, the content team at Grace Hill is creating resources to help you succeed. Learn more about Grace Hill on LinkedIn.

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