As a lawyer who defends discrimination cases, I get questions about some of the differences between housing discrimation and employment discrimination. While there are a number of similarities -- there are some important differences to take into account. The first of which is that an employment discrimination case must be initially filed with the federal EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or similar state agency. The statute of limitations (how long a plaintiff has to file the claim) is relatively short. You must receive what is called a "right to sue" letter before filing your case in court. If a plaintiff files in court before receiving the "right to sue" letter, the case will most likely be dismissed for what is known as "failure to exhaust administrative remedies" -- which is legalese for you did not file in the right place.
Housing discrimination is different. A plaintiff can start his or her discrimination case by filing a complaint with HUD, a state, city, or county agency or a plaintiff can go right to court. The statute of limitations is also different depending on where the complaint is filed. Indeed, there are also times when a plaintiff starts a case with HUD and the federal department will refer the case to a state, city, or county agency because HUD has concluded the state law and procedures are similar enough to those in the Fair Housing Act. The choice of forums is something to evaluate when a case gets started.
In most circumstances, management cannot change the forum once a plaintiff has started a case. But it is important to know the rules of the department, agency, or court in which the case was filed in order to ensure the best possible result for management.