The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it has filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act against Joel Nolen, the owner and operator of rental properties here in Lassen County.
The lawsuit also names as defendants Shirlee Nolen and Nolen Properties LLC, the co-owners of the rental properties at the relevant times.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleges that Joel Nolen sexually harassed female tenants since at least 2011.
According to the complaint, “Nolen offered housing-related benefits in exchange for sexual contact, made unwelcome sexual comments and advances to female tenants, entered the homes of female tenants without their permission, subjected female tenants to unwelcome touching and groping, subjected female tenants to unwelcome sexual acts and took adverse housing-related actions against female tenants who refused his sexual advances.”
“No one should ever feel unsafe or suffer sexual harassment in their home, especially at the hands of their housing provider,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“The Justice Department is committed to vigorously enforcing the Fair Housing Act and holding landlords and housing providers accountable when they sexually harass their tenants.”
“The sexual harassment and retaliation alleged in today’s complaint violates our federal fair housing laws and will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California.
“Landlords and other housing providers who engage in such conduct will be held accountable to ensure that individuals feel safe and comfortable in their homes.”
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate persons harmed by the alleged harassment, civil penalties to vindicate the public interest and a court order barring future discrimination.
Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of sexual harassment or other types of housing discrimination at rental dwellings owned or managed by Joel Nolen, Shirlee Nolen, or Nolen Properties LLC, or who have other information that may be relevant to this case, can contact the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-833-591-0291, select 1 for English, and select option number 2, then option number 7 to leave a message.
Individuals may also email the Justice Department at [email protected] or submit a report online. Reports also may be made by contacting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777 or by filing a complaint online.