Member & Volunteer Conduct Policies
Members, volunteers, and staff of Illinois REALTORS® must work together effectively as a team to accomplish the goals of the Association. The team and its efforts are strengthened and encouraged when there is an environment of mutual respect and courtesy. Offensive behaviors stand in the way of the progress Illinois REALTORS® wants to make and can expose the Association, its staff, and membership to legal liability. Illinois REALTORS® fully supports the rights of its Directors, members, volunteers and staff to work in an environment free of hostility, discrimination and harassment of any kind. Accordingly, all Illinois REALTORS® members, Directors, and volunteers are expected to adhere to these Member & Volunteer Conduct Policies.
I. Code of Conduct
To promote a positive public image and role for Illinois REALTORS® and the real estate industry, all Members, Directors, Committee members, and volunteers shall have an obligation to:
- Act in the best interests of and fulfill obligations to the Association and its members;
- Actively promote and encourage the highest degree of ethics at all levels within the real estate industry and to act honestly, as fairly as possible, ethically and with integrity;
- Maintain the highest standards of personal conduct by acting in a professional, courteous and respectful manner;
- Comply with all federal, state or local laws governing the Association and to understand and adhere to all governing documents, laws and regulations applicable to the Association;
- Act in good faith responsibly with due care, competence and diligence without allowing their independent judgment to be subordinated;
- Follow all policies regarding conflicts of interest and ownership disclosures of the Association;
- Make available and to share with the Board of Directors any information that may be appropriate to ensure the proper conduct and sound operation of the Association’s governance and management;
- Respect and maintain the confidentiality of information relating to the affairs of the Association acquired in the course of service, except when authorized or legally required to disclose such information and to use information acquired in the course of business only for the Association’s, not personal, purposes;
- Maintain loyalty to Illinois REALTORS® and pursue its objectives in ways that are consistent with member and public interest;
- Serve all Association members fairly and impartially and to strive for excellence in all aspects of leading and managing the Association;
- Engage in no activities for personal gain at the expense of the Association or the real estate industry;
- Refuse to engage in or fail to report any suspected acts of unlawful discrimination or harassment;
- Seek members’ input and opinion in matters coming up for consideration by the management of the Association; and
- Ensure the objective of all Association action and pursuits is to provide the best possible services for REALTOR® members.
II. Conflicts of Interest
It has been the intent of Illinois REALTORS® since its inception to carry on its activities in accordance with the highest ethical standards. This Conflict of Interest policy reaffirms Illinois REALTORS’® intent that those holding elected or appointed leadership positions be held to the highest ethical standards and give undivided loyalty to Illinois REALTORS® and its goals. Any activities which do not serve the best interest of Illinois REALTORS® or which favor the personal advantage of another person or corporation are inconsistent with the duties and responsibilities owed to Illinois REALTORS®.
It shall be the policy of Illinois REALTORS® that no member, while serving Illinois REALTORS® in a leadership capacity, as an Officer, Director, Committee or Volunteer Group Chair or Vice Chair, Committee or Volunteer Group Member, or in another type of leadership capacity (referred to herein as “Illinois REALTORS® Leader”), shall take personal advantage of his or her leadership role by allowing a situation to exist that may be construed as a Conflict of Interest, as further described herein.
All Illinois REALTORS® Leaders shall scrupulously avoid any conflict between their own respective interests and the interests of Illinois REALTORS® (hereinafter “Conflict of Interest”). In determining the interests of an Illinois REALTORS® Leader, consideration shall include the financial and personal interests of the leader; the leader’s spouse, children, siblings and parents; and any trust, corporation or partnership in which any of the foregoing persons have an interest, financial or otherwise.
A Conflict of Interest includes, but is not limited to, direct or indirect interests of the Illinois REALTORS® Leader in a company, service or product which could be affected by a decision of a Board, Volunteer Group, Committee or other Illinois REALTORS® governing body; direct or indirect interests of the Illinois REALTORS® Leader in a company or product which is in competition with a company, service or product which could be affected by a decision of a Board, Volunteer Group, Committee or other Illinois REALTORS® governing body; acceptance of any gift, entertainment, services, loans or promises of future benefits from any person or organization that may benefit from the Illinois REALTORS® Leader’s connection with or service to Illinois REALTORS®; and compensation in the form of fees or salaries if such payment is the direct or indirect result of the Illinois REALTORS® Leader’s work with Illinois REALTORS®.
All Illinois REALTORS® Leaders shall immediately disclose any direct or indirect relationships with organizations, either for-profit or not-for-profit, that may, during their term of service, be involved with Illinois REALTORS® in any formal or informal capacity or which may benefit or be harmed by actions taken by Illinois REALTORS®.
All Illinois REALTORS® Leaders shall immediately disclose, during their term of service, all forms of compensation from Illinois REALTORS® or one of its subsidiaries or related entities.
In the event any Illinois REALTORS® Leader has a Conflict of Interest as described in this Policy or may stand to derive, directly or indirectly, a personal gain or benefit from a transaction either entered into or not entered into by Illinois REALTORS® or any other decision by Illinois REALTORS® or has any direct or indirect interest in or relationship with any individual or organization: (i) which proposes to enter into any transaction with Illinois REALTORS® for the sale, purchase, lease or rental of property; (ii) which proposes to render or employ services, personal or otherwise, to or of Illinois REALTORS®; or (iii) which may be seen as competing with the interests or concerns of Illinois REALTORS®, the Illinois REALTORS® Leader shall give Illinois REALTORS® notice of such interest or relationship and shall thereafter refrain from voting or otherwise attempting to impact the decision of Illinois REALTORS® relative to the matter giving rise to the Conflict of Interest (other than informational purposes). Minutes of appropriate meetings shall reflect that such disclosure was made, and that the Illinois REALTORS® Leader did not participate in the discussion of the matter and did not vote on the matter.
III. Confidentiality Agreement
Certain discussions and information shared in Illinois REALTORS® Board of Director’s and Committee meetings, conference calls or other forums may be sensitive and considered confidential.
Any member, Director, Officer, or volunteer in possession or receipt of information, which has been identified to them as “confidential” information, shall have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of such information and shall not copy, reproduce, duplicate, disclose, divulge or reveal the same to any person or entity, or utilize it for any purpose that is either outside of the Board, committee, meeting, other volunteer group, or other forum in which the information originated, or not otherwise specifically authorized by the Board, committee, volunteer group, or the Chief Executive Officer of Illinois REALTORS®.
IV. Member & Volunteer Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure
Illinois REALTORS® is committed to a volunteer and work environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. The members and staff of Illinois REALTORS® must work together effectively as a team to accomplish the association’s goals. Therefore, Illinois REALTORS® expects that all relationships among employees, members and business associates both inside and outside the office will be business-like and free of bias, prejudice and harassment.
Illinois REALTORS® fully supports the rights and opportunities of all its committee members, directors, officers and employees to volunteer and work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and abusive conduct. Illinois REALTORS® will make every reasonable effort to ensure that all concerned are familiar with these policies and are aware that any complaint regarding violation of such policies will be investigated and resolved appropriately.
Encouragement of Reporting and Prohibition on Retaliation
Illinois REALTORS® encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of sexual harassment, harassment, or abusive conduct, which together are referred to herein as prohibited conduct. It is the policy of Illinois REALTORS® to promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. Illinois REALTORS® prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports sexual harassment, harassment, or abusive conduct or who participates in an investigation of such reports.
Retaliation against an individual for reporting prohibited conduct or participating in an investigation of a claim of prohibited conduct is a serious violation of this policy and, like the barred conduct itself, will be subject to severe disciplinary action. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately in the same manner as any other prohibited conduct addressed in this policy and will be promptly investigated and addressed in a like manner.
Sexual harassment constitutes discrimination and is illegal under federal, state and local laws. For the purposes of this policy, “sexual harassment” is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not-so-subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; sexual jokes and innuendo; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, whistling or touching; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; and other physical, verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment does not include voluntary relationships between members.
Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. Under this policy, harassment is verbal, written or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law or that of his or her relatives, friends or associates. Harassing conduct includes epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.
Abusive conduct includes any verbal or physical conduct including threatening or obscene language, unwelcome actions like 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.
Individuals and Conduct Covered
These policies on prohibited conduct apply to all members of Illinois REALTORS® and its volunteers, whether related to conduct engaged in by fellow members or someone not directly connected to Illinois REALTORS® (e.g., an outside vendor, consultant or customer). Conduct prohibited by these policies is unacceptable in the workplace and in any work-related setting outside the workplace, such as during business trips, business meetings and business-related social events. To the extent Illinois REALTORS® employees experience any of the prohibited conduct described herein, they should refer specifically to the Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure in the Illinois REALTORS® Employment Policies, Guidelines & Benefits manual.
Reporting an Incident of Harassment or Retaliation
Illinois REALTORS® encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of prohibited conduct or retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Members who believe that they have been the victim of such conduct should discuss their concerns with any Illinois REALTORS® departmental director or Vice-President or the Chief Executive Officer of Illinois REALTORS®. If the perceived incident of prohibited conduct or retaliation involves the Chief Executive Officer, then the conduct should be reported directly to the President or General Counsel of Illinois REALTORS®. Any Illinois REALTORS® employee that receives a report of suspected misconduct shall immediately notify Illinois REALTORS’® Human Resources director or General Counsel.
Illinois REALTORS® will handle expeditiously and fairly any allegations of prohibited conduct or retaliation whether or not a written or formal complaint has been filed. They will: (1) take all complaints or concerns of alleged or possible prohibited conduct seriously no matter how minor or who is involved; (2) ensure that prohibited conduct or inappropriate sexually oriented conduct is immediately reported so that a prompt investigation can occur; and (3) take any appropriate action to prevent retaliation or prohibited conduct from recurring during and after any investigations or complaints.
To knowingly allow or tolerate sexual harassment, harassment, or prohibited conduct (which shall include failing to immediately report such misconduct) or retaliation for reporting of the same, is a violation of this policy. When possible, Illinois REALTORS® encourages individuals who believe they are being subjected to such conduct to promptly advise the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcome and demand that it be discontinued. Illinois REALTORS® recognizes, however, that an individual may prefer to pursue the matter through complaint procedures.
The complaint does not have to be in writing. It is helpful if details of dates, times, places and witnesses, if any, to the prohibited conduct can be provided. Illinois REALTORS® encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that rapid and constructive action can be taken. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of prohibited conduct.
Complaint Investigation, Confidentiality & Discipline
All complaints will be investigated promptly by Illinois REALTORS®. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge. During the investigation, both the complainant and the accused will be provided a full opportunity to tell his or her side of the story.
The identity of the employee or member making the complaint as well as the identity of the individual accused of the prohibited conduct will be kept strictly confidential to the extent circumstances will allow. Information regarding the accusations and the investigation that follows will be made known only to persons who are directly involved either as party or witness to the individuals investigating the claim. Witnesses interviewed will be provided only such information as is necessary to elicit from them their observations and other relevant information.
The prohibited conduct described above represent serious offenses and any member or volunteer found to have engaged in such conduct is subject to as severe of discipline as Illinois REALTORS® believes is appropriate under the circumstances.
V. Social Media Policy
This Section V applies to all Illinois REALTORS® Directors, committee members, officers, volunteer group members, and any other volunteer of the association (together referred to as “Illinois Leaders”).
Social media is a powerful and effective communication and engagement tool and Illinois REALTORS® encourages Illinois Leaders to utilize social media to help raise awareness of Illinois REALTORS’® work and issues of interest to REALTORS® and consumers. This Social Media Policy is intended to enable Illinois Leaders to maintain their ability to express themselves personally on social media, while also ensuring that the reputation and work of Illinois REALTORS® is protected. In furtherance of these objectives, Illinois Leaders are subject to the following rules:
- While the President is the chief spokesperson for Illinois REALTORS®, all Illinois REALTORS® members are encouraged to use social media to promote Illinois REALTORS’® mission, policy positions, advocacy efforts, and other association news.
- It is always acceptable to repost or share any Illinois REALTORS® published communications and established policy positions.
- Always be professional and ethical when engaging in social media and avoid making statements or posting photographs that could reasonably harm the association.
- In the capacity of an Illinois Leader, avoid making statements contrary to Illinois REALTORS’® public positions on any public policy issues, including but not limited to contrary statements about appointees, elected officials or candidates, and legislative or regulatory matters.
- When reasonably necessary or useful, include a disclaimer that views expressed by the Illinois Leader are personal to the individual and do not represent the official views of Illinois REALTORS®.
- Do not disclose any confidential information.
- Do not call for a boycott of a product, service, or company.
- Avoid any connection to Illinois REALTORS® when making personal statements of endorsement or opposition to particular products, services, or companies.
- Respect third-party intellectual property, and always use the National Association of REALTORS® trademarks in accordance with its Membership Marks Manual. REALTOR® means member of the National Association of REALTORS® and must not be used generically as a synonym for the occupation of “real estate agent” or “broker”.
- If an Illinois Leader is unsure whether a particular communication is appropriate, the Illinois Leader should refrain from making the social media post or contact the President or CEO prior to publishing the post.
Illinois REALTORS® reserves the right to require the withdrawal, correction, revision, or removal of any social media post by an Illinois Leader that does not adhere to these rules or which otherwise is deemed inappropriate by Illinois REALTORS®.
If any Illinois REALTORS® member, Director, Officer, or volunteer is found to have violated these Member & Volunteer Conduct Policies, the Illinois REALTORS® Executive Committee shall determine whether any sanction is warranted. Only the Illinois REALTORS® Executive Committee has the authority to finally resolve all charges or accusations of violations of these policies and make any determination regarding appropriate sanctions. Sanctions may include but are not necessarily limited to probation, suspension, written reprimand, removal from any or all Board, leadership, committee, or other volunteer positions, or revocation of membership.
If the Illinois REALTORS® Human Resources director, General Counsel, or any member of the Executive Committee is the individual accused of misconduct, that person then shall automatically be excluded from any involvement in the investigation of, reporting on, or sanctioning of the misconduct.