The US Department of Justice has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against property manager and owners of residential apartment buildings in Los Angeles.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that property manager Filomeno Hernandez has been sexually harassing female residents at the rental properties at 729 South Bonnie Brae Street and 720 Westlake Avenue, near MacArthur Park, since at least 2006.
Hernandez has been accused of frequently engaging in unwanted sexual touching, including sexual assault, making unwelcome sexual advances and comments, offering to reduce rent or excusing late or unpaid rent in exchange for sex, and entering the homes of female tenants without their consent.
Besides Hernandez, the complaint also names Ramin Akhavan, Bonnie Brae Investment Services LLC, and Westlake Property Services LLC as defendants.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties, and a court order barring future discrimination.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said sexual harassment in housing is unacceptable and illegal.
Since launching an initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing in October 2017, the Department of Justice has filed thirteen lawsuits alleging such practices.
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