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Harassment Complaint Policy

Local Associations may, at their discretion, adopt the following harassment policy as part of their association bylaws. If adopted, the procedures that follow should be used when considering complaints alleging harassment of association employees by members.

Harassment Policy

This section appears as optional Section 14 under Article VI of the NAR Model Bylaws.

Section 14. Harassment. Any member of the association may be reprimanded, placed on probation, suspended or expelled for harassment of an association or MLS employee or association officer or director after an investigation in accordance with the procedures of the association. As used in this section, harassment means any verbal or physical conduct including threatening or obscene language, unwelcome sexual advances, stalking, actions including strikes, shoves, kicks, or other similar physical contact, or threats to do the same, or any other conduct with the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment. The decision of the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken shall be made by the investigatory team comprised of the president, and president-elect and/or vice president and one member of the board of directors selected by the highest ranking officer not named in the complaint, upon consultation with legal counsel for the association. Disciplinary action may include any sanction authorized in the association’s Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual. If the complaint names the president, president-elect or vice president, they may not participate in the proceedings and shall be replaced by the immediate past president or, alternatively, by another member of the board of directors selected by the highest ranking officer not named in the complaint.

Harassment of Association Staff

Harassment is illegal conduct and is contrary to the policy of the association.

As used in association policy, harassment means any verbal or physical conduct including threatening or obscene language, unwelcome sexual advances, stalking, actions including strikes, shoves, kicks, or other similar physical contact, or threats to do the same, or any other conduct with the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment.

Complaint Procedure

Any employee who believes that he/she has suffered harassment by any member of the association must bring the problem to the attention of the President or Executive Vice President. The complaint does not have to be in writing; however, it is helpful if details of dates, times, places and witnesses, if any, to the harassment alleged can be provided.

All complaints will be investigated promptly and with strictest confidentiality by an investigatory team comprised of the President, President-Elect and/or Vice President and one (1) member of the Board of Directors selected by the highest ranking officer not named in the complaint after consultation with legal counsel for the association. If the complaint involves the President, President-Elect and/or Vice President, they shall be replaced on the investigatory team by the immediate Past President or, alternatively, by another member of the Board of Directors selected by the highest ranking officer not named in the complaint.

Both the complainant and the accused will be provided a full opportunity to present their cases. Witnesses interviewed will be provided only such information as is necessary to elicit from them their observations and other relevant information.

Disciplinary action against any member found to have harassed an association or MLS employee may consist of any sanction authorized in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, such as verbal or written warning, probation, suspension or expulsion depending on the gravity of the incident. Prior incidents of similar behavior shall be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate disciplinary action. Such decision shall be made by the investigatory team.

Clear, strong, and convincing shall be the standard of proof by which alleged allegations of harassment are determined. Clear, strong, and convincing shall be defined as that measure or degree of proof which will produce a firm belief as to the validity of the allegations sought to be established.

It is contrary to the policy of the association for a member to retaliate against any employee who files a charge of harassment. All possible steps will be taken to eliminate the possibility of retaliation resulting from the filing of a complaint.

In the event a complaint of harassment is found to be totally and completely without basis, appropriate disciplinary measures may be taken against the employee who brought the complaint. While this is in no way intended to discourage employees who believe they have been the victim of harassment from bringing a complaint, the association recognizes that a charge of harassment can cause serious damage to the personal reputation and professional career of the accused.

(revised 11/10)