Two Committees Back Tougher Anti-Discrimination Language

It’s not uncommon to see certain proposed policy changes make their way through more than one committee, especially where the proposal is of interest to—or affects—multiple constituencies within NAR. An interesting example of some cross-committee collaboration occurred on Friday when Leigh York, 2019 Professional Standards Chair, presented to the Diversity Committee on a proposed change to Article 3 Standards of Practice in the NAR Code of Ethics.

The proposed change would add the following as a new Standard of Practice under Article 3, which deals with REALTORS’ duty to cooperate: “REALTORS® may not refuse to cooperate on the basis of a broker’s race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” The proposed change is intended to be a clarification, as Article 3 would have always been intended to prohibit such discrimination. The new proposed Standard of Practice would simply add clarification and emphasis that such conduct is explicitly proscribed and would subject REALTORS® to discipline.

Leigh York
Leigh York, 2019 Chair of Professional Standards Committee, presents a proposed new Standard of Practice under Article 3 of the Code of Ethics, to the NAR Diversity Committee.

Before this proposed change gets discussed and voted on at the Professional Standards Committee—the group with direct jurisdiction over the Code of Ethics—it went to the Diversity Committee to solicit that group’s input and support. Diversity Chair Danny Hernandez and Vice Chair Bikel Frenelle were gracious hosts, and their committee generated some conversation to clarify. The Diversity Committee unanimously passed an advisory motion in support of the proposal, which will be shared with the Professional Standards Committee.

The Diversity Committee includes leaders from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), and the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), along with a diverse mix of other involved NAR members.

If the proposal is passed by the Professional Standard Committee, its next step is the Executive Committee and then the full Board of Directors. The cross-committee collaboration—if it passes at Professional Standards—will be used to make the case that it has broad-based support that extends beyond the Professional Standards Committee members.