"hate has no home here" protest sign

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NAR Provides Guidelines on Guarding Against Hate Speech

June 9, 2020

As racial tensions mount across the country, reports of racist and hateful remarks being made on social media have pressed on brokerages and REALTOR® associations. Firms and associations looked to the National Association of REALTORS® for guidance on what to do if they have to field complaints about comments deemed inappropriate.

“While each comment must be evaluated individually in order to determine the appropriate course of action, we have offered the following guidance to those who’ve asked for it,” Katie Johnson, NAR’s general counsel, posted on the association’s Hub channel.

The guidelines include the following for those who receive hate speech on their association or firm’s communication channels.

Removing offensive posts. If an inappropriate comment was made on an association or firm’s social media channel, they can remove it. “NAR does not tolerate hate speech on our social media or other channels. Such messages are removed,” Johnson wrote. “We urge all associations, members, and companies to do the same in their channels.” That includes posts that are shared and originally posted by others that contain quotes or attached images that contain hate speech. Any post that threatens violence should be referred to authorities.

Consider ethical violations. A REALTOR® could be subject to disciplinary action under NAR’s Code of Ethics if the offense relates to real estate activities and transactions, including within the agent’s marketing or while they’ve offered real estate services. Code of Ethics complaints can be filed with the local association where the REALTOR® holds membership.

Alert the member’s principal broker. REALTOR® associations can report any offensive remarks to the REALTOR®'s broker. Brokers may want to take separate action to limit harm to their business.

Educate. NAR is urging REALTOR® associations to consider revising their new-member orientations and other mandatory education courses to focus on the delivery of equal services. NAR recently published an implicit bias training video as part of its Accountability, Culture Change, and Training (ACT) initiative that relates to education on fair housing and antidiscrimination.

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