In what some consider one of the most far-reaching social policy moves in the corporate world, the National Association of Realtors, called the nation’s largest trade organization, has revised its professional ethics code to ban “hate speech and harassing speech” by its 1.4 million members.
The sweeping prohibition applies to association members 24/7, covering all communication, private and professional, written and spoken, online and off. Punishment could top out at a maximum fine of $15,000 and expulsion from the organization.
Mary Wagner, a Buffalo real estate agent who is white and lesbian, says the move, announced in November, fits her vision for creating a fairer society. She predicts thousands of complaints this year, given the realtor association’s enormous size and the overheated climate of social media.
“I was thrilled to hear it,” Wagner said in a phone interview. “I think it’s long overdue.”
NAR’s decision, allowing any member of the public to file a complaint, has alarmed other real