Fair Housing

Meyer et al. v. Holley et al., No. 01-1120

In Meyer et al. v. Holley et al., No. 01-1120, the Ninth Circuit affirmed that employees of Triad Realty in Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., had violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 (1968) by discriminating against an African-American home buyer on the basis of her race.

These subordinate employees may have been acting as rogue agents in violation of company policy. Nevertheless, the appellate court held that the owners and officers of this realty business could also be held liable even if they did not know about or authorize the discriminatory acts that occurred. The Ninth Circuit said that it recognized that "holding a corporation and its officers responsible even though the acts of subordinate employees were neither directed nor authorized seems harsh punishment of an otherwise innocent employer," but that it believed that result was "preferable to leaving the burden on the innocent victim who felt the direct harm of the discrimination."

Read the Fair Housing Act.

Read the Ninth Circuit's Opinion that owners and officers of corporations may be held vicariously liable for an employee's violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Read the Supreme Court's opinion.

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