A Grievance procedure is initiated when a member of the public or another REALTOR® submits a written complaint stating that a REALTOR® member has violated the Code of Ethics. A formal request is filed, a committee of trained REALTORS® reviews the ethics or arbitration complaint and makes a preliminary evaluation to determine if, when taken as true on the face, a hearing to determine the facts of the case, is warranted. The Grievance Committee does not decide whether members have actually violated the Code of Ethics. It does not mediate, arbitrate or hold hearings. It is similar to a Grand Jury in that it determines whether the case should be referred on to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing. The committee may request a written response from the party against whom the complaint is made.
Mediation is the process in which a trained mediator is appointed to work with two disputing parties to resolve a conflict which has been approved by the Grievance committee before it goes to the Arbitration committee for a formal hearing. The parties can be two REALTORS® or a REALTOR® and clients or customers. This process often saves time and money for the parties and the associations as well as preserving the relationships between the parties. Mediation is often a winwinwin for REALTOR® associations and disputing parties. If not successful or if either party decides to withdraw at any time prior to resolution, the case continues on for Arbitration. Nothing revealed during the mediation procedure may be used or disclosed during the Arbitration Hearing.
MFCAR Citation Policy may be applied when certain potential ethics violations occur. A complaint forwarded by the Grievance Committee first goes to the Citation Panel to determine if it includes “citable offenses”. The Citation Panel is comprised of 3 members of the Professional Standards Committee. If the complaint includes only allegations of violations included in the Citation Schedule, the Citation Panel will issue a citation and impose discipline consistent with the association’s Citation Schedule. If the conduct described is sufficiently egregious to warrant a hearing, the complaint shall be referred to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing.
Ombudsman Service An ombudsman is an individual appointed to receive and resolve disputes through constructive communication and advocating for consensus and understanding.
Ombudsman procedures, which may be adopted and utilized at the discretion of boards and associations, are intended to provide enhanced communications and initial problem solving capacity at the local level
Ethics Hearing Any person who thinks a member is guilty of conduct which violates the Code of Ethics, may complete the proper forms, including the facts of the case, in their own name, and file a Grievance with the member’s association. The Complaint must state the specific Article/s which has/have been violated. The Grievance Committee Chairperson may appoint a Committee Member to help the person, who is filing the complaint, with the completion of the form but that Committee Member must be removed from the review process. The Complaint must be filed within 180 days after the conclusion of the transaction or after the event becomes final or 180 after the facts of the case could have been known. If the complaint also makes a monetary claim, the two procedures must be totally separate and the Arbitration Hearing to resolve the financial dispute must precede the Ethics Hearing.
Arbitration Hearing In the event of a monetary dispute between managing brokers of separate offices, a Grievance may be filed to request an Arbitration Hearing. Every member of the MidFairfield County Association of REALTORS® agrees to submit to arbitration by the MFCAR facilities as defined in Article 17 of the Code of Ethics. Once the Grievance Committee determines that an arbitrable matter exists, the parties may voluntarily proceed to Mediation and if Mediation is unsuccessful, the matter will be forwarded for an Arbitration Hearing. The Arbitration Hearing Panel will determine the prevailing party after hearing presentations by both parties, their witnesses and/or their attorneys, hearing cross examination and the answers to the panelists’ questions and by examining the presented evidence. It should be noted that Connecticut state law requires that the prevailing party receive the entire monetary award, in dispute. The disputed funds may not be divided in any way.