SC Human Rights Commission Can Sue for Discrimination

Oct 9, 2019

US Senator Charles Grassley (R) Iowa

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The United States and China are set to resume trade talks this week and Iowa’s senior senator wants to see some progress. Republican Chuck Grassley praised President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure China to comply with World Trade Organization expectations. And Grassley says if the talks succeed at securing ways to enforce those rules, the whole world will benefit.

I think this uncertainty of the trade settlement is affecting world trade, slowing down the world economy.

And that’s visible in Iowa where soybean farmers, in particular, have seen a large shift in the demand for their crops as China has turned to other countries. The U-S and China have been imposing tariffs on each other’s goods for a year and a half as the trade war unfolds. Talks are set to resume Thursday though China has already indicated it has no plans to make concessions. 

The Iowa Court of Appeals says the Sioux City Human Rights Commission may sue the owners of rental properties for housing discrimination for rejecting renters with disabilities who asked to keep companion animals in their homes.

In a decision filed Wednesday, a three-judge panel concluded the city and its civil rights commission have standing to sue for violations of the law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

The city first sued James W. Boyd Revocable Trust and its trustees James Boyd and Jennifer Boyle on March 2017, claiming they violated the law by denying reasonable accommodation of a disability. The city seeks a court order to stop the practice, civil penalties,  and punitive damages.

The city says applicants for rentals were told that no animals were allowed in 2014 and again in 2016.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit in March 2018, finding the commission was not an "aggrieved person" eligible to sue under Iowa law.

The appeals court judges applied the federal discrimination law definition, which allows a local civil rights commission to directly litigate discrimination concerns.