Someone at my apartment building makes me feel uncomfortable by commenting on my body. Is that sexual harassment?
Category: Survivor Housing
- Sexual harassment is prohibited under fair housing laws, and includes two main types of harassment. The first is called “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, which is when a housing provider or someone that works for them requires a tenant to engage in sexual conduct in order to maintain their housing or housing-related services. The second is called “hostile environment” sexual harassment, which is when the tenant is experiencing harassment based on their sex from a housing provider or someone that works for them that is severe or pervasive and interferes with the use of their unit. Whether harassment creates a hostile environment depends on many factors, including the severity, nature, location and frequency of the conduct, and the relationship of the people involved. There does not need to be physical harm to create a hostile environment, and even a single incident of harassment can create a hostile environment.
- If you are experiencing sexual harassment in your housing, you can file a court complaint or a housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, or the local administrative fair housing commissions, which are all agencies that investigate and resolve these complaints. Depending on where you file, the timeline for filing your complaint can be as little as 180 days, so you should connect with an attorney to consider your options as soon as possible.
- Tenants can also experience sexual harassment from other tenants at the property. In these situations, tenants can inform their housing provider about what is going on, and ask them to take steps to stop the harassment from continuing. Housing providers can be responsible for tenant-on-tenant harassment when they knew or should have known about it, had the power to correct it, and failed to take prompt action.