On this page are training materials to help REALTORS® serving on grievance committees understand how to consider/review ethics complaints and arbitration requests. These exercises also help members and association staff better understand the grievance committee role.

These fact scenarios are fictitious. They highlight specific issues that grievance committees may encounter when reviewing ethics and arbitration requests.

Use: There are several different ways to use the materials. Here are two suggestions:

  • Grievance Committee Demo—Convene a "mock" three-member grievance committee to showcase the scenarios. During the mock grievance committee meeting, the committee members will take appropriate and inappropriate actions to be critiqued by the general audience.
  • Breakouts—Break into small groups to discuss the respective parties’ positions. After discussing the case as a group, decide whether the case should or should not be referred for a hearing.

Associations may choose to use the materials as is, or use them as a basis for writing your own scenarios. 

The materials are organized by the year developed. Notations are included to describe the type of dispute and issues the grievance committee would need to address to determine whether to forward the matter on for a hearing, dismiss it (in part or entirely), or request more information in order to make a knowledgeable disposition.

Fact scenarios Type of dispute Fact scenario highlights Year used by NAR

Ethics Case Study 1 (DOC: 68 KB)

Ethics Case Study 2 (DOC: 93 KB)

Ethics Complaint Timely Filed; S.O.P. 16-3, S.O.P. 16-16, and S.O.P. 16-18 2015

Ethics Case Study Exercise with Answers (DOC: 78 KB)

Ethics Case Study Participant (DOC: 69 KB)

Ethics Complaint Processing bylaws and MLS rules violations, G.C. becomes complainant, Article 12, One party sits on B.O.D. 2014

Ethics case studies (DOC: 77 KB)

Arbitration case studies (DOC: 89 KB)

Ethics complaint and arbitration request

Not timely filed; appropriate parties; arbitrability of matter; Article 1 & 8; consolidation of requests; matter too legally complex; Article 1 & 15

Amending complaints; Article 12, 14, and 15; Articles 1 & 3; consolidation of ethics and MLS complaints


Case studies & exercises (DOC: 78 KB)

Complaint and response (DOC: 65 KB)

Arbitration request and ethics complaint Arbitrability of dispute; arbitration timely filed. Ethical allegations timely filed; were individuals REALTORS® at time of complaint?; consolidation of separate ethics complaints 2012
Microsoft Word file (DOC: 87 KB) Ethics complaint and arbitration request Appropriate parties to arbitration; amending arbitration request; arbitration timely filed?; ethics complaint timely filed?; misuse of the term REALTOR® 2011
Microsoft Word file (DOC: 86 KB) Ethics complaint and arbitration request Appropriate parties to arbitration; arbitrability of dispute; effect of party’s bankruptcy in arbitration; ethics complaint timely filed; arbitrability of agreement with client 2010
Microsoft Word file (DOC: 104 KB) Ethics complaint and arbitration request Complainant doesn’t articulate complaint well; grievance committee member assists complainant in forming complaint. Arbitrability of dispute. Appropriate parties to ethics matter; amending complaint 2009
Microsoft Word file (DOC: 90 KB) Ethics complaint and arbitration request Wrong article charged; amend ethics complaint; were discriminatory actions taken; Dismiss article; allegations of MLS rule violation referred to MLS. Arbitrability of dispute; disputed amount too large 2008

Note: The case scenarios presented in the attached documents were used during the National Association’s Professional Standards Education Seminars. Learn more about attending these seminars. 

The debriefs/answers/guidance provided for the various exercises is based upon the adopted policies/Code of Ethics & Arbitration Manual at the time the exercise was created.