FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONTGOMERY, AL – The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama today hailed a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins against Jamarlo GumBayTay, an agent of Elite Real Estate Consulting Group, ordering him to cease the sexual harassment of a renter and stop any and all actions to evict her.
“Too often landlords and rental agents try to exploit low-income women who have few affordable rental options by demanding sex as a condition of housing,” said Allison Neal, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Alabama. “Lawsuits like this one send the message that this form of exploitation is never acceptable.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman threatened with eviction for refusing the sexual advances of GumBayTay. According to legal papers, GumBayTay repeatedly tried to coerce the plaintiff into having sex with him and threatened to evict her when she refused. The tenant has also said that GumBayTay raised her rent because she refused to have sex with him.
The ACLU lawsuit charges that these practices violate the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status and disability. The lawsuit asks that the court order GumBayTay to stop harassing the plaintiff, to cease from initiating any eviction action against her, and to pay compensatory and punitive damages.
“By exposing illegal sexual discrimination in cases like these, we hope more women are encouraged to come forward and assert their rights,” said Kenneth Lay, housing advocacy director for Legal Services Alabama, which filed the initial lawsuit. “This also puts property owners on notice that they are responsible for the discriminatory acts of their managers.”
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