INDIANAPOLIS—Today the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) announced its ruling in favor of complainant in a discrimination case alleging disability discrimination in housing in violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law (Ind. Code 22-9 et. seq.), Indiana Fair Housing Act (Ind. Code 22-9-5.5 et seq.), and the Federal Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C 3601 et. seq.). The remedy for this violation included an order to cease and desist all discriminatory practices in housing, monetary relief, and specific guidelines for recommencement as a housing provider.
According to ICRC charge (Richard A Hite, in his official capacity as the Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission vs. Zender Family Limited Partnership, Docket No. HOha13041057) filed by Sarah Meyer on April 4, 2013, Meyer alleged that after she notified the leasing agent of her need for a reasonable accommodation to move due to her disability, she was denied without the housing provider participating in the interactive process. Meyer was born blind and selected her apartment due to its proximity to public transit. Upon being groped and harassed to and from her apartment by people on the street, she began to feel unsafe and experience PTSD flashbacks impeding her mental and physical health. Per her physician, Meyer needed to move. Meyer asked for a reasonable accommodation to move and was denied. A friend assisted Meyer in breaking her lease so she could move and ensure a proper recovery.
Then Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Doneisha Posey’s proposed findings awarded Meyer a total of $15,000 which include $1,170 to cover her lease buyout and the remaining to compensate for emotional distress. To vindicate the public interest, the ICRC assessed civil penalty against the respondent of $5,000 and ordered that they cease and desist from discriminatory practices. Although Zender Family Limited Partnership is no longer a housing provider, ALJ Posey, ordered that if they were to commence offering residential properties/units for rent within 5 years, they would post notices, attend training, and change policies to remain in compliance with this finding.
“As this final order demonstrates, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission will thoroughly investigate and enforce the Indiana Civil Rights Laws,” said ICRC Executive Director, Gregory L. Wilson, Sr. “Ms. Meyer used her voice and challenged those treating her unfairly and we encourage others to do the same.”
When an individual feels they have been discriminated against they can file a complaint three ways: call (317)-232-2600, visit our website at www.in.gov/icrc or file a complaint in person at the ICRC office in the Indiana Government Center North.