Key Highlights

  • In response to getting complaints about Realtors posting discriminatory speech and conduct online, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) proposing ethics changes to its professional standards
  • Protected classes under NAR’s Code of Ethics include race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Possible disciplinary action for “egregious” online discriminatory speech and conduct to be voted upon by NAR board of directors on November 13

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) began receiving unparalleled numbers of complaints about realtors who were posting discriminatory comments and actions online, particularly on social media, during this spring and summer. Once a local realtors’ association in Atlanta proposed to NAR that it change its professional standards to squelch such derogatory and racist speech and behavior, NAR took action.

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The NAR Professional Standards Committee held a special meeting in late June and called upon its Interpretations and Procedures Advisory Board to review the organization’s Code of Ethics in regards to discriminatory speech and conduct. , Long story short, over multiple meetings in July and August, the advisory board proposed eight recommendations, six of which require approval from NAR’s board of directors, to change the organization’s Code of Ethics.

This vote will take place on November 13 at NAR’s annual Realtors Conference & Expo.

Proposed changes to NAR’s Code of Ethics summarily address hate speech and sexual harassment. Changes define hate speech as “speech that is intended to insult, offend, or intimidate a person because of some trait (such as race, religion, sexual orientation, natural origin, or disability).” See the above bullet points under key highlights that point to “protected classes.”

Teeth have been added to these proposed changes including “suspension or expulsion of membership” from NAR if a member violates the soon-to-be-voted-upon changes to the association’s Code of Ethics. Additionally, NAR would have the ability to refer final ethics decisions concerning violations to other governmental agencies if the member in question has been found and “must be proven” to have “demonstrated misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm.”

NAR members will have the opportunity to discuss any and all of these proposed changes to the organization’s Code of Ethics at the Professional Standards Forum on November 2 prior to the board’s vote on November 13.

We’re including here a link to the proposed changes:

 

https://cdn.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/October%202020%20PSC%20Agenda%20with%20Appendices%20v2.pdf

Thanks to InmanNews and the National Association of REALTORS®.

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