Brief Fact Summary. Edouard is a tenant in Kozubal’s building. Edouard filed a compliant alleging sex discrimination to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination based on certain events.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Emotional distress damages will be appropriate in a land-lord tenant relationship where the plaintiff can show a prima facie case of sexual discrimination.
Issue. Whether claims of sex discrimination based on sexual harassment can be applied in a land-land tenant relationship thus allowing damages for emotional distress.
Held. Yes. When a plaintiff can show a prima facie case of sexual discrimination as defined against an employer it will be applied to the land-lord tenant relationship. In order to show sexual discrimination, you must show one of two types of sexual harassment occurred. Sexual harassment is defined as sexual advances, request for favors, and other acts sexual in nature when such request are made for 1) condition or basis of employment and 2) when the advances have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with persons performance by creating a hostile environment. To establish the first kind discrimination the plaintiff must show she is of a protected class, she was subject to unwanted sexual advances and those conditions and or basis caused adverse changes and they were casually connected to her rejection. Her she is a woman that was required to make an additional rental deposit when she refused a date from her land-lord; her prima facie case is made. She also can show the second type because the defendant slapped her buttocks and attempted rape which most certainly is a hostile environment. This is also proven by evidence from the charge brought against the defendant for Indecent Assault and Battery where he admitted his guilt. Due to all these facts an award for money damages for the emotional distress caused by the sexual discrimination is appropriate.
Discussion. While the plaintiff did prove her case, it also did not help that Mr. Kozubal did not show up to defend himself. Also while a plaintiff does not have to see a doctor to prove emotional distress, the fact that she did visit a doctor helped her claims.