HUD ENFORCING BAN ON DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION

On February 11, 2021 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a memorandum titled Implementation of Executive Order 13988 on the Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 13988 on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. The Executive Order addresses the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v Clayton County, which held that the prohibitions against sex discrimination in the workplace contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extend to and include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Relying on this landmark decision, the Executive Order directs every federal agency to assess all agency actions taken under federal statutes that prohibit sex discrimination and to fully enforce those statutes to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD’s Office of General Counsel has concluded that the Fair Housing Act’s sex discrimination provisions are comparable to those of Title VII and that they likewise prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.

HUD’s General Counsel has concluded that the Fair Housing Act’s sex discrimination provisions are comparable to those of Title VII and that they likewise prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) will take action to administer and fully enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Effective immediately, FHEO shall accept for filing and investigate all complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation, that meet other jurisdictional requirements. Where reasonable cause exists to believe that discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity has occurred, FHEO will refer a determination of cause for charge by HUD’s Office of General Counsel. Moreover, if discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation occurs in conjunction with discrimination because of another protected characteristic, all such bases shall be included within the complaint, investigated, and charged where reasonable cause exists. Similarly, FHEO shall conduct all other activities involving the application, interpretation, and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination to include discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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