The California Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, which is incorporated into your Association Bylaws and is therefore binding on you, has been extensively revised for 2015. This notice describes the key changes that have been made to the Manual.
New Procedure for Obtaining Member Photos for Publication of Ethics Discipline
The current C.A.R. policy is to publish photos of members who are disciplined for ethics violations with a fine, reprimand, probation, suspension, or expulsion. The process for obtaining this photo has been changed as follows:
- After being found in violation of a publishable offense, a disciplined member will provide a photo to C.A.R. and the local Association within 10 calendar days after final adoption of the discipline recommendation by the local Association’s Board of Directors.
- The member will provide a photo that is current, accurate and at least the size and quality of a passport photo along with a restatement of the authorization to use the photo in the new Form D-24.
- Members may simply take a digital photo, as long as it is of sufficient quality and size, and email it to the association along with Form D-24.
- Failure to provide the authorization with a photo in a timely manner will result in suspension of membership until the authorization form and photo are provided.
- The disciplined member must own or have right to use the submitted photo, and must provide a license to use the photo consistent with the Manual’s publication requirements.
- A.R. will publish a discipline summary without a photo if the photo has not been received in time and will include a note with the summary that the member was suspended for refusal to provide a photo.
The 2015 Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual has been revised to incorporate this procedure, and the disciplinary forms have also been revised. Starting January 1, 2015, the new disciplinary forms will be used for all ethics cases, including for cases that were initiated prior to that date.
Timeframes in the Manual Expedited as Required by NAR
This is a partial list of timeframe changes made to the Manual based on NAR’s mandates. The deadlines for many steps in the ethics discipline process have been shortened or added where the Manual provided no specific deadlines.
- Time for the Grievance Committee to review a complaint: no later than 45 days after receipt of complaint.
- Hearing date selected no later than 20 days after the Grievance Committee forwards the complaint for a hearing.
- Response provided to complainant within 15 days of the Association’s receipt.
- The written hearing panel decision is provided to the Association no later than 48 hours after the hearing.
- The hearing panel decision is transmitted to the parties within 5 days.
- The request for review is heard no later than 30 days after receipt of the request for review by the Association.
- The review Panel decides within 5 days after the review hearing.
- Absent a request for review, final action by the Board of Directors must take place no later than 30 days after the date the hearing Panel’s decision is transmitted to the parties.
Additionally, a local association may choose to adopt a “fast track” process for receipt, consideration and resolution of ethics complaints. The differences between the regular disciplinary process and the “fast track” process are described in a document included in a supplement to the Manual. If an association chooses to adopt the “fast track” process, it must be used for all disciplinary complaints received by the association.
Continuances: Parties Must Agree to a New Date to get a Continuance
Both the Discipline and Arbitration portions of the Manual now require that requests for continuances shall only be granted when all parties mutually agree to a subsequent specified date, or when the hearing panel chair determines that denying the request for a continuance would deny the requesting party a fair hearing.
Rehearings have been completely eliminated from the disciplinary process. Only requests for review are now available to a party who wishes to challenge the decision of the hearing panel.
Remote Testimony and Appearances
Language has been added clarifying that parties and their witnesses may request permission to participate in proceedings remotely (i.e., via teleconference or videoconference). Only parties eligible to attend the entire hearing in person are entitled to participate “remotely” for the entirety of the hearing. Witnesses may only participate remotely for their own testimony.
All changes to the Manual (including all of the changes discussed above) are marked in red underlined font in the Manual.
The complete 2015 Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual can be downloaded from the C.A.R. website at: http://www.car.org/legal/MLSproStandards/pro-standards-materials/.