The women’s movement in the 1970s led to the addition of sex/gender as a protected class under federal law in 1974. Before then it was common for landlords and lenders to discriminate based on sex, most commonly against women. Today most acts of sex discrimination consist of behaviors based on assumptions about men/ women and or sexual harassment.

These are examples of illegal sex discrimination:

  • A landlord selects a male applicant over a female applicant based on the assumption the male could do a better job with yard work;
  • A property manager selects a female applicant over a male applicant based on the assumption that the female would be neater and quieter;
  • A lender rejects a mortgage loan application to an expectant mother based on unfounded assumptions about future income;
  • A landlord threatens to evict a female tenant for refusing a sexual relationship-women who are low-income, don’t speak English well or have mental disabilities may be identified as vulnerable and targeted;
  • A maintenance tech makes comments of a sexual nature to a resident, creating an uncomfortable environment;
  • A landlord continues to use an outside contractor for home repairs after receiving complaints from female residents of sexual harassment.
    Because the majority of victims of domestic violence are women, discrimination against survivors of domestic violence is considered sex discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act. The federal Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA) and Oregon landlord-tenant law provides protection, and Oregon landlord-tenant laws protects female and male survivors.