Gay Iowa couple wins suit in harassment case

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A gay couple in Iowa has won a case over a management company of an apartment complex for harassment and discrimination. Charles Anderson and Brandon Morehead received $147,000 in damages after maintenance technician Allen Emert harassed the couple with names like “queer” and “pillow biters.”

“As the jury in this case determined, there is no place in the state of Iowa for such outrageous and illegal activity, and failure to stop such behavior can result in serious penalties to responsible parties,” said Iowa Civil Rights Commission Director Beth Townsend in a public statement.

Allen Emert is a part of New Life Multi-Family Management LLC and initiated the harassment after he learned the couple shared a one-bedroom apartment in March 2011.

Complaints also were directed to two of Emert’s supervisors who harassed them. On behalf of the couple, they received $75,300 in punitive damages and $50,000 for emotional distress, and $22,000 in economic damages.

“The Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act were both written to ensure that Iowans are as free from discrimination and harassment in their housing as they would be in their place of employment,” Townsend concluded.

The trial lasted for four days, and concluded with the verdict that the management company had in fact discriminated against the couple due to their orientation.

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