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Sexual harassment victims have rights

Those who are seeking housing in Michigan may find that they are the victims of sexual harassment. While victims can be of either gender, they are often single women with children or those who have limited housing options because of their income. Regardless of whether harassment is physical or verbal, it is illegal under the Fair Housing Act. Despite this, victims often choose not to report what has happened to them.

Typically, those who experience sexual harassment fear that they won't be able to stay where they are if they do speak up. However, those who do talk about their experiences could be entitled to compensation or other legal relief. In a case involving a Detroit property manager, a jury found that the manager and a landlord were liable for sexually harassing six tenants. They were ordered to pay $115,000 to the tenants.

The Justice Department urges those who have been victimized by landlords or property managers to contact them. Their goal is to let people understand that they will listen to their stories and investigate their cases. By letting victims know that the government is on their side, it may be easier to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable for their actions. Ultimately, that can create conditions where everyone can feel safe in their homes and rented properties.

Individuals who feel pressured to commit sexual acts in exchange for access to housing may wish to share their experiences with legal counsel. Doing so may make it possible for sexual harassment victims to learn more about their rights in such a situation. Victims generally have the same rights under the law regardless of their gender, race or family status. If a claim is successful, an individual may be able to receive compensation from a property owner or manager.

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