Women Say Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Are Rife in Group for Realtors


[Update: Mr. Parcell resigned on Monday from the National Association of Realtors in the wake of The Times’s investigation.]

One lady said that the man placed his hands on his pants before her. A second woman claimed that the man sent her a picture showing his crotch. The man in question is Kenny Parcell. He is the president of National Association of Realtors. This powerful nonprofit organization has more than $1 billion worth of assets and controls access to almost every American home listing. The three women who were employed by the Chicago-based organization said that Mr. Parcell sexually harassed them. They described a pattern in which he would inappropriately touch and send lewd pictures and texts. The New York Times reported that despite years of complaints about sexual harassment and discrimination by Mr. Parcell, the group’s leaders and employees, there was little change. Many of these claims have begun to surface in recent weeks after Janelle Brevard, the former employee who said she had a relationship with Mr. Parcell, sued the group for racial and sexual discrimination and harassment.

“There is the sexual harassment, and then woven into it, this culture of fear,” said Stephanie Quinn, the organization’s former director of business meetings and events, who worked at N.A.R. Stephanie Quinn, the former director of business meetings and events at N.A.R. who worked there for over a decade, said that sexual harassment was woven into the culture. Ms. Quinn said that Mr. Parcell was always expecting hugs from her and would try to set up meetings late at night with younger co-workers. She said that after an incident in which she raised her hand to block a hug he began to question her authority and her decisions. Parcell denied sexual harassment in a written response to The Times. He said, “I never reached out to someone ‘younger or late at night’.” N.A.R. N.A.R. The organization owns the trademark for the word “Realtor.” Employees and Realtors interviewed by The Times criticised its leadership, describing it as a close-knit group of allies that deflected any wrongdoing while punishing those who complained. Mr. Parcell is a Utah Realtor who has been described as a grandstanding person with a fiery temperament by his co-workers. “I felt like I was always screaming ‘This is inappropriate’.”

Harassment is ingrained into N.A.R. Kaki Lybbert is 69 years old and a Texas Realtor. She served as a member of N.A.R.’s leadership board. At official N.A.R. conferences and other events, Ms. Lybbert said that she saw Mr. Parcell ostracize female Realtors who did not flatter him. She said that at conferences and official N.A.R. She said, “I have seen how people are treated up close and personally and it has made me sick.”

Mr. Parcell denied the allegations made by Ms. Lybbert. “In fact, I do not know what these allegations are referring to or have any frame of reference for this,” he said.

‘Sweetheart’ or ‘Honey’

After inquiries this month by The Times, N.A.R. The Times contacted N.A.R. about a new advisory board that would focus on the culture of the organization. They said this group will encourage “values such as respect, integrity and transparency, and continuous growth.” Despite this, the majority of its top leaders are men. As recently as last summer’s harassment guidance, the organization put a lot of responsibility on the victims to stop unwanted behavior. The group’s new protocol for conferences and gatherings stated that if a member, colleague or vendor refers to an employee by calling them’sweetheart,’ the employee can tell that person that they prefer that they call the employee by their name. These guidelines also included, “Staff should avoid going to anyone’s hotel room,” and “Physical contact with anyone is never required.”

Many women who brought concerns to N.A.R. The response of leaders has discouraged many women from speaking out again about harassment within the organization. Nineteen women, who were either active or employed by N.A.R. Nineteen women who worked at or were active in N.A.R. Ten more said that they had been subjected a sexist and demeaning culture. The Times reviewed two lawsuits as well as a discrimination claim and an internal memo that was sent to N.A.R.’s Human Resources Department. All of these pointed to a pattern of harassment and retaliation over a period of years.

Ms. Brevard, along with two other women, filed formal complaints of harassment. Later, all three women received severance packages that included nondisclosure agreements. N.A.R. declined to comment.

Sixteen of the allegations examined by The Times of either sexual harassment or an abusive culture involved Mr. Parcell. Through his lawyer, Mr. Parcell (50) called the allegations against him “categorically true.”

When asked in an interview if the organization has an issue with sexual harassment, the N.A.R. Bob Goldberg, the chief executive of N.A.R., said that he would not describe it as a “problem.”

He clarified his statement in an email sent by a representative for the organization. “We live in a world where inappropriate conduct is unfortunately possible.”

He then clarified this in an email via a spokesperson. We are not immune from these challenges and I am concerned by any allegation. said, “We follow clear reporting procedures to investigate any issue of concern brought to our attention and take corrective action as needed, up to and including staff termination and member suspension.”

A ‘Powerful Adversary’

Ms. Brevard, a 51-year-old woman, was terminated in September 2022 because she failed to disclose her relationship to Mr. Parcell, as per the lawsuit filed in June in Washington, D.C. federal court. She had worked for N.A.R. As what was called the “chief storyteller”, she handled the group’s videos, podcasts and most of its marketing material from 2019 to 2020. She claimed to have had a sexual relationship for several months with Mr. Parcell. The lawsuit claimed that after she ended the relationship, Mr. Parcell continued pursuing her with unwanted advances. He also made sure that she was not allowed to attend meetings or business trips, and told her he would fire her. Brevard is Black. The lawsuit stated that she and three other white female employees complained to the lawyers hired last year to investigate sexual harassment issues in the organization about Mr. Parcell’s behavior. The lawsuit stated that Mr. Parcell sent lewd pictures and text messages to them all. N.A.R. Officials said that the investigation was complete and all allegations were addressed. However, they declined to provide any further details. Although Ms. Brevard had been fired, other women who complained were still employed. She received a $107,000 severance package, including lawyer’s fees. She declined to comment. She declined to comment.

N.A.R. Bruce Fox, the lawyer who started representing Ms. Brevard back in August, disagreed. He said that she felt intimidated by the powerful opponent and agreed to settle the case quickly. Leadership in 2020. He is outspoken and animated in his support of the organization. He has traveled to Ukraine as president-elect, and was photographed wearing a N.A.R. T-shirt next to tanks. T-shirt.

Inside the organization, several women described him as a boss who crossed lines.

More than a year ago, Jennifer Braun, 54, N.A.R.’s current senior events producer, filed an internal report about two incidents with Mr. Parcell to the human resources department.

Ms. Braun, a senior events producer at N.A.R.’s headquarters in Washington, told The Times she was asked to fix Mr. Parcell’s shirt during a conference in Washington in 2018. He then asked her to put his hands on his pants. She said this seemed sexually suggestive. She said that at a prior event, N.A.R.’s 2017 Leadership Summit in Chicago, Mr. Parcell had said that another colleague was masturbating and he simulated ejaculation with his hands by rubbing them together. She said he then held his hands up toward her. Parcell claimed that he never made any such gestures or references. He said that he and Jennifer had a good working relationship. N.A.R. A N.A.R. executive sent a message to a senior vice-president raising alarm. She was aware that two employees had described an “inappropriate” invitation: Mr. Parcell invited them to stay the night at his Utah home when they were in town for promotional materials to promote his presidency. She shared photos that Mr. Parcell had sent of his crotch from April 2022. When asked by The Times about the memo, N.A.R. said it did not contain sexual harassment complaints and described the photographs sent by Mr. Parcell as “of a belt buckle.” The organization said all issues identified in the memo had been investigated and addressed.

Mr. Parcell claimed he sent the images to get feedback on a promotional N.A.R. Parcell sent the pictures to get feedback on a promotional N.A.R. Amy Swida is the director of Business Meetings and Events, Braun and three other N.A.R. Employees who filed internal complaints against Mr. Parcell for sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination described a workplace that was tense and where they felt executives were watching them. Each employee, in separate interviews, referred to an underlying system of intimidation that they believed was designed to keep critics quiet. She said she was punished for refusing to allow Mr. Parcell’s circumvention of her job duties. As an example, she cited being removed from planning a large leadership meeting when she refused to allow Mr. Parcell negotiate directly with a vendor. She said she now fears being cut out of other work opportunities.

“I was never cruel to Ms. Swida,” Mr. Parcell said, disputing Ms. Swida’s account of events around the contract.

N.A.R. said it has “a strict no retaliation policy” and “her complaint was heard and documented.” The organization said she was promoted a few months later, “unrelated to the incident reported.”

“Everything gets brushed under the rug,” Ms. Dunkel-Soto said.

A Culture of Keeping Quiet

Several women interviewed said they did not want to speak publicly because they feared retribution, losing access to the leadership roles and professional connections that their businesses depend on. A culture of silence

Several women interviewed said they did not want to speak publicly because they feared retribution, losing access to the leadership roles and professional connections that their businesses depend on. subsidiary, Realtors Information Network. Sheth claimed that her male superiors stared at Ms. Sheth’s breasts and called her career aspirations “unattractive”. They also made inappropriate remarks about her marital status and body. She told The Times that N.A.R. cited “poor performance” for her 2019 termination.

In July 2020, Ms. Sheth, who is of Indian descent, filed a charge of discrimination, claiming both racial and sexual harassment, with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is currently investigating the case. Ms. Sheth received text messages after filing her complaint from an unknown number calling her a “rat”, telling her to “kys”, which is text shorthand meaning “kill yourself”. Ms. Sheth then filed a police record. Sheth believes she was fired as a result of her complaints. She said that the best way to make a company win was to have someone not talk. When she was terminated, she received a severance package that included a nondisclosure contract. She chose to speak with The Times because she felt she wasn’t the only victim of harassment. She did not disclose the amount of the payment.

Complaints of harassment have also been reported at Move, Inc., a real estate listing company that operates the N.A.R.-licensed site Realtor.com and is based in Santa Clara, Calif. Two N.A.R. She did not disclose the amount of the payment. Parcell is one of the nine members. Suzanne Mueller, aged 59, filed a lawsuit against Move in September 2020 for multiple incidents of sexual harassment. The lawsuit claims that Move executives minimized sexually charged, violent conversations during work events by referring to them as male Realtors being “boys”. They also made remarks disparaging menopausal menstrual cramps and weight gain. She was also offered a severance payment that came with a nondisclosure agreement. She also was offered a severance payment that came with a nondisclosure agreement.

Several former N.A.R. The Times reported that the N.A.R. culture has long been one of keeping quiet and covering up for those who are accused of wrongdoing. She described a corporate culture in which leaders are expected not to speak out and to sign pledges that include a promise to report anyone who criticizes the organization.

Last week, a letter signed anonymously by “a confidential group of 37 Realtor leaders” appeared in the mailboxes more than 20 N.A.R. Past presidents. The unnamed authors pleaded with the organization to demand Mr. Parcell’s resignation.

“This is an intimidating process. The letter states that none of us want to sign anything. We are in a situation of crisis management, and members must speak up.”