For single-family homes, there were reportedly 2,591 closed sales transactions and 2,424 pending sales transactions in January, representing a 5.0% decrease in closed sales
BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: A Safe Place: Reviewing HGAR’s New Code of Conduct and the New HGAR Statement of Appropriate Event Conduct Statement
HGAR expects that all members act with courtesy and respect toward each other, the staff, service providers, speakers and event participants at all HGAR events and when acting as an HGAR member.
On Jan. 17, 2024, at the first meeting of the 2024 HGAR Board of Directors, two new policies were put up for a vote. They both passed and were immediately made effective. The first was the HGAR Code of Conduct and the other was the HGAR Statement of Appropriate Event Conduct. While the principles of these policies have been practiced for some time, the Board of Directors found it necessary to memorialize these principles and establish concrete rules relating to membership conduct. While these policies will be provided and explained to new members, it’s important for all members to know and understand what is embodied in these policies.
HGAR’s Code of Conduct
HGAR is committed to providing a productive, safe and welcoming environment for everyone. In order to maintain this type of environment, HGAR expects that all members act with courtesy and respect toward each other, the staff, service providers, speakers and event participants at all HGAR events and when acting as an HGAR member. Most important, are the requirements that HGAR members will not harass or discriminate against another person based on that person’s protected class characteristic pursuant to the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics and any applicable federal, state or local laws.
Harassment Under the Code of Conduct
HGAR members are prohibited from harassing other HGAR members, staff, service providers, speakers, and event participants, or any other individual while the member is acting on behalf of, or as a representative of HGAR, or as a participant or attendee at any HGAR event. Harassment includes inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action, or gestures based on another person’s protected class characteristics pursuant to the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics, and or any other applicable federal, state or local law. Prohibited harassment may take various forms, including, but not limited to:
Verbal conduct, such as epithets, derogatory comments, slurs, negative stereotyping or denigrating jokes or comments.
The use of abusive, foul, obscene and/or explicit language.
Visual conduct, such as derogatory posters, cartoons, drawings, or gestures, or the display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility.
Physical conduct, such as unwelcome contact or touching, kissing, hugging, assault, impeding or blocking movement.
Harassment via technology or computers to send/receive derogatory, inappropriate, messages, pictures, cartoons, jokes, or material.
Threats, violence, threats of violence, demands or hostile acts.
Sexual Harassment Under the Code of Conduct
Sexually harassing conduct is just one form of harassment. It can be committed by a person of either the same sex or gender, or the opposite sex or gender (or any other protected category) of the person subjected to the harassment. A person may be the victim of harassment even though the offensive conduct has not been directed at the person alleging harassment, regardless of the sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or other class status of the perpetrator. Additionally, sexually harassing conduct need not be intentional or motivated by sexual desire. The following are some examples of conduct that may constitute prohibited sexual harassment:
Unwelcome sexual flirtations, propositions, advances or other unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Unwanted physical touching or closeness, such as unwanted massages hugging, kissing, patting, pinching, or touching/pulling an individual’s clothing or hair, or any other touching that is nonconsensual.
Physical gestures that imply a sexual act or sexual anatomy, touching oneself in a sexual nature.
Brushing up against another person, standing too close, or lingering.
Using vulgar words of a sexual nature, describing body parts or sexual acts.
Discussions or inquiries about sexual fantasy, preferences, history or sex life about self or others.
Giving personal gifts that imply an intimate relationship or otherwise lavishing someone with gifts.
Repeated invitations and/or pressuring/coercion for dates or sexual favors.
Any suggestion that an individual’s committee assignment, leadership position, job security, project assignment, or a decision affecting an individual, depends on the submission to sexual favors or relations.
Reporting an Incident
Any HGAR member who believes they have experienced or witnessed any inappropriate behavior in violation of the Code should promptly report it to HGAR’s General Counsel, or the Chief Executive Officer. Additionally, any HGAR Officer, Director, or Committee Chairperson who becomes aware of such an incident must promptly report it to HGAR. Thereafter, a private investigation will be conducted. If it is revealed that a violation of the Code has occurred, HGAR’s Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer will determine any necessary disciplinary action against the offending party, including but not limited to, prohibition from attendance at future HGAR meetings or events, removal from a leadership or committee appointment, expulsion from membership, or any other action deemed appropriate by HGAR. Moreover, HGAR strictly prohibits all individuals from retaliating against any person who in good faith reports or participates in the investigation relating to a possible violation of the Code.
HGAR Statement of Appropriate Event Conduct
In addition to the HGAR Code of Conduct, the HGAR Board of Directors also established a Statement of Appropriate Event Conduct. The “Statement” establishes that by virtue of attendance at an HGAR event, any HGAR member must, not only adhere to the HGAR Code of Conduct, but they must also abide by the statement.
In its simplest form, the statement requires that all attendees are expected to conduct themselves professionally, use good judgment, and be respectful while present at an HGAR event and HGAR will not tolerate any inappropriate behavior. This includes both actual physical and virtual attendance at an HGAR event. Examples of inappropriate behavior include, but are not limited to, disruptive, harassing, or defamatory behavior, display or use of graphic images or language, destruction of property, threats, intimidation, yelling/shouting, fighting, unwanted physical contact, unwanted sexual conduct (whether physical, verbal, or non-verbal), and any conduct, statements, or images that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual or group based on a protected class characteristic.
Reporting an Incident
Similar to the Code, any attendee should report any behavior they believe violates the Statement to HGAR’s General Counsel or CEO. Further, if the attendee believes they are in immediate danger, they should report the incident directly to the police via 911.
Pursuant to the statement, once made aware, HGAR has the right to take immediate action against an infringing attendee, including but not limited to, their immediate removal from the event, their prohibition from attendance at future HGAR events, and even their removal from a committee appointment.
Weapons and Concealed Carry Policy
Part of the statement includes a new HGAR no weapons policy. In short, unless otherwise notified, all HGAR premises and/or HGAR events are gun-free zones and any attendee, by signing up or attending an event, expressly agrees to not bring any weapons onto the HGAR premises or to any HGAR event. Such weapons include, but are not limited to firearms, stun guns, tasers, nunchakus, brass knuckles, knives, explosives, or any other object that HGAR might consider dangerous. Only one carve-out has been made to this policy, that is that personal protection equipment, limited to peppery spray, high-powered lights, or loud audio devices/safety whistles are permitted, so long as they are stored out of sight, are used only in self-defense and are not used to commit acts or threats of physical violence, including intimidation, harassment and/or coercion.
These new policies are here for the benefit of all members. HGAR seeks to provide a safe and nurturing space for all members to engage, learn, and grow. These new rules directly benefit all members in the creation of this welcoming environment.