Woodbury Real Estate Broker Settles Familial Status and Marital Status Discrimination Complaints

As seen in Newsday:

Long Island Housing Services (LIHS) settled a housing advertising discrimination complaint against Shawn A. McLaughlin based on allegations of Familial Status and Marital Discrimination.  McLaughlin is a licensed associate broker with an office in Woodbury, New York.

As part of a systematic investigation, LIHS routinely monitors websites and found multiple discriminatory advertisements posted on Craigslist’s website which appeared to have been listed by McLaughlin.

LIHS’ investigation revealed that the advertisements appeared to be discriminating based on familial status and marital status.  Multiple advertisements stated “Single Occupancy Only.” Advertisements that specifically sets limitation for a single individual can be seen as pretext for familial status and marital status discrimination.  Families with minor children, married individuals, and couples would be discouraged from contacting any real estate agent based solely on wording of the discriminatory advertisements.

People who believe that they have experienced housing discrimination in Nassau or Suffolk Counties, can contact Long Island Housing Services, Inc. at 631-567-5111 ext. 375. Hablamos Español 631-567-5111 Ext. 378 or info@lifairhousing.org

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on familial status.  The law against housing discrimination based on familial status protects any person who is pregnant or has a child or is in the process of securing legal custody of any child under age of eighteen years old.  In addition, it includes anyone under the age of eighteen years old living with their parent, someone with legal custody, or the parent’s designee.

New York State Human Rights Law prohibits housing discrimination based on marital status in addition to familial status.  Marital status discrimination in housing involves treating persons in an unequal manner due to their marital status.

Reinforcing Fair Housing Rights

After negotiation LIHS and McLaughlin reached a settlement agreement, including policy changes of McLaughlin adopting a non-discriminatory fair housing policy; displaying compliance with fair housing laws; and participating in fair housing training.  LIHS also received a monetary damages of $5,000.

“One of the most personal decisions you can make is who you decide to live with,” said Ian Wilder, LIHS Executive Director. “A housing provider should not be attempting to dictate who lives in your household. If a Long Island resident comes across housing ads illegally discriminating based on familial status or marital status, we ask that you forward them to our agency to investigate.  We want to make sure that all Long Islanders can live in the housing of their choice without illegal restrictions.”


Founded in 1969, Long Island Housing Services’ mission is the elimination of unlawful discrimination and promotion of decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education.  LIHS is a private, nonprofit HUD-qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization and a federally certified, approved Housing Counseling agency. (www.LIFairHousing.org)

The Fair Housing enforcement and advocacy work of LIHS is supported through a grant from the Fair Housing Initiatives Program Private Enforcement Initiative (American Rescue Plan) of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.


The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.