Derrel’s Mini Storage Inc., a Fresno, Calif.-based self-storage operator, has settled an employment and housing discrimination case with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The case involved former employee Charlyn Foote, who was pregnant when she and her husband, Kyle Foote, agreed to be resident managers at a Bakersfield, Calif., location. Under the settlement, Derrel’s agreed to revise its policies regarding the onsite housing it provides to facility managers, according to a DFEH press release.
“We commend [Derrel’s] for agreeing to adopt new policies that ensure facility managers are able to safely work and live on site with their families,” said Kevin Kish, director at DFEH.
The department brought the case against Darrel’s, contending its business policies would have banned the baby from housing during hours of operation and on weekends. The state maintained the policy violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which protects the rights of Californians to “seek, obtain and hold housing without discrimination based on familial status, and to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination on account of sex,” the release stated.
Derrel’s asserted the FEHA doesn’t apply to employer-provided housing issued as a condition of employment and argued business justifications for its policy. After an unsuccessful attempt to mediate the claim, the DFEH filed suit in Kern County, Calif., Superior Court.
The state announced it had reached a settlement on Monday. “This was an important case to confirm that the FEHA extends to all housing in California, including housing provided by employers to their employees as a condition of employment,” Kish said. “A policy prohibiting children from the business premises, including onsite housing, during operating hours, made it extremely difficult for parents or guardians with children to work as facility managers for [Derrel’s]. The revised policy allows facility managers the same freedoms all residents should have in their home while addressing [Derrel’s] business concerns.”
Derrel’s operates 58 self-storage locations throughout California, including 17 in Bakersfield. The company’s portfolio comprises more than 11 million square feet of net rentable square feet in more than 72,000 units.
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