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Sikh News US Files Suit Over Racial Bias Against Indians

Vikram singh

Feb 24, 2005
Washington, July 17

The US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the owner and management of an apartment complex at Renton in Washington State for racial discrimination against Indians who were treated less favourably than other tenants and even told to “go back” to India.

The lawsuit seeking monetary damages and an order barring further discrimination was filed yesterday in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington and named as defendants Summerhill Place LLC - the owner of Summerhill Place Apartments; GRAN Inc. - the management company; and Rita Lovejoy - the former on-site manager.

The suit alleges that the defendants steered away Indian tenants from a building at Summerhill, treated Indian tenants less favourably than other tenants and discouraged African-Americans, Hispanics and families with children from living at Summerhill. The names of Indians have not been revealed.

“Equal access to housing in the US is a fundamental right, and this nation will not tolerate discrimination in housing,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E Perez.

The Justice Department alleged that the owner and management of apartment complex instructed its staff not to show apartments to people from India, Hispanics and African Americans.

The company and its staff engaged in discriminating against Indian tenants by not replacing their carpets or broken appliances, while providing such services to other similarly situated tenants.

Also one or more Indian tenants were allegedly told that they should take their children to the park to play. They were also told to “go back to India” if they could not learn how to work their appliances and faced other derogatory comments about their national origin.

“Few things are more fundamental to success and happiness than having a safe place to live. Fair and equal access to housing is a cornerstone of our society,” said US Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny A Durkan.

“Apartment owners must ensure that their managers treat all tenants and potential tenants, in a fair and equitable manner without regard to race, national origin or whether they have children. As alleged in the complaint, two Summerhill employees contacted the King County Office of Civil Rights (KCOCR) in 2007 and complained of discriminatory housing practices at Summerhill. After an investigation, the Secretary of HUD (Housing and Urban Development Department) determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred and issued a charge of discrimination. — PTI



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