NAR’s 'concrete actions' include outside counsel, task force
An email sent by CEO Bob Goldberg to staff on Thursday promises an independent assessment of company policies and practices.
- The new Policies and Procedures Task Force will work with an outside law firm to investigate complaints.
- The Culture Transformation Commission Task Force will set up a town hall-style meeting at the NAR convention this November.
- The moves come as a response to allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace culture at NAR.
In the wake of sexual harassment allegations and claims of a "culture of fear" at the organization, the National Association of Realtors is taking steps to address the concerns.
The Chicago Tribune reported that NAR CEO Bob Goldberg sent an email to staff on Thursday, Sept. 21, noting that a new Policies and Procedures Task Force will work with outside legal counsel to provide an independent assessment of company policies and practices, and the law firm will investigate complaints and bring those findings to the task force.
Real Estate News obtained Goldberg's email from NAR, which outlined other steps the organization is taking. Along with the policy-focused task force and the hiring of Salvatore, Prescott, Porter & Porter LLP, a law firm specializing in internal investigations, NAR plans to implement a new system where employee-to-employee complaints will go to an outside investigator for review.
Goldberg also provided details about the new Culture Transformation Commission Task Force. It will have three different groups, represented by members, state and local association staff, and NAR staff. One of its first tasks is to organize a town hall-style meeting at the upcoming NAR NXT convention in Anaheim this November.
NAR spokesman Mantill Williams released a statement from the organization, saying leadership is "committed to taking concrete actions to strengthen our organization and promote an environment where everyone feels safe, supported, and empowered to do their best work."
This comes at a time when NAR, which has more than 1.5 million members, is trying to navigate through a difficult summer. Two days after the Aug. 26 publication of a New York Times article detailing misconduct within the organization, NAR President Kenny Parcell resigned, followed by the appointment of Tracy Kasper to the role.
Parcell's resignation did not quell the backlash, however. The newly formed NAR Accountability Project recently organized a day of action demanding significant changes, including an independent investigation and a third-party human resources reporting system — which NAR appears to be addressing with its task force and use of outside counsel.
Other changes called for by the NAR Accountability Project are the removal of NAR CEO Bob Goldberg, who is retiring at the end of 2024, and the release of non-trade non-disclosure agreements of all former employees and independent contractors.