News Release: HUD Proposing to Roll Back Civil Rights Protections in Housing

For Immediate Release:
August 19, 2019

Carter Dougherty,, (202) 251-6700

The proposed disparate impact rule significantly raises the threshold for plaintiffs to make a disparate impact claim

Washington, DC – Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed drastic changes to its Disparate Impact rule that would effectively dismantle the Fair Housing Act’s protections against systemic discrimination. Disparate impact is a legal theory that allows people to challenge policies that have a discriminatory effect and limit housing opportunities for people of color and other groups. It is a critical tool in fighting discrimination and protecting equal access to housing. This proposal comes during intense national discussion about race, discrimination, and harassment.

HUD’s proposal:

  • Places a drastically higher burden on victims of discrimination by creating multiple new hurdles to even begin a disparate impact case
  • Prioritizes profits above people by allowing defendants to easily defeat a case if it simply costs more to not discriminate 
  • Protects discrimination by algorithm by carving out special defenses that allow defendants to evade responsibility for relying on algorithms

“HUD’s proposed rule makes it virtually impossible for a disparate impact claim to stand in court,” says
Linda Jun, senior policy counsel for Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund. “By raising the threshold for disparate impact, the new rule creates a nearly unsurmountable bar for plaintiffs to prove discriminatory outcomes and makes it much easier for defendants to shield themselves from any responsibility for discrimination.”