A. Initial action upon receipt of a request for arbitration
Upon receipt of a request for arbitration, the Professional Standards Administrator shall refer the arbitration request to the Chairperson of the Grievance Committee. The Chairperson shall review the arbitration request and any evidence and documentation attached. The Chairperson may assign one or more members of the Grievance Committee to review the request and to make any necessary evaluation. The member(s) may, if necessary, gather additional information on the matters complained of from the complainant if additional information appears necessary to make a knowledgeable disposition of the arbitration request. The request shall be provided to the assigned members by the Board Professional Standards Administrator upon instruction from the Chairperson. (Amended 11/15)
The reviewer(s), if appointed, shall complete the assignment promptly and prepare a report and recommendation for the Grievance Committee. After reviewing the report, the Chairperson shall schedule a meeting of the Grievance Committee and may instruct the Professional Standards Administrator to provide members of the Grievance Committee with copies of the case file including the reviewer’s report, if any. At the option of the Board, such file may be sent to the Grievance Committee members prior to the meeting or may be distributed at the meeting. (Amended 4/94)
B. Consideration by the Grievance Committee of a request for arbitration
In reviewing a request for arbitration, the Grievance Committee shall consider the following:
- Is the request for arbitration acceptable in the form as received by the committee? If not in proper form, the Chairperson may request that the Elected Professional Standards Administrator or the Executive Officer contact the complainant to advise that the request must be submitted in proper form.
NOTE: If deemed appropriate by the Chairperson, a member of the Grievance Committee may be assigned to contact the complainant and to provide procedural assistance to amend the request or resubmit a new request in proper form and with proper content. The Grievance Committee member providing such assistance shall ensure that only procedural assistance is provided to the complainant, and that the complainant understands that the member is not representing the complainant or advocating on behalf of the complainant. (Revised 11/15)
- Are all necessary parties named in the request for arbitration? The duty to arbitrate is an obligation of REALTOR® principals. REALTOR® principals include sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, officers or majority shareholders of a corporation, or office managers (including branch office managers) acting on behalf of principals of a real estate firm. (Revised 11/98)
- Was the request for arbitration filed within one hundred eighty (180) days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within one hundred eighty (180) days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later? (Revised 4/92)
- Are the parties members in good standing or otherwise entitled to invoke arbitration through the Board’s facilities? Were the parties members at the time the facts giving rise to the dispute occurred?
- Is litigation concerning an otherwise arbitrable matter pending in connection with the same transaction?
NOTE: No arbitration shall be provided on a matter pending litigation unless the litigation is withdrawn with notice to the Board and request for arbitration, or unless the court refers the matter to the Board for arbitration.
- Is there any reason to conclude that the Board would be unable to provide an impartial Hearing Panel?
- If the facts alleged in the request for arbitration were taken as true on their face, is the matter at issue related to a real estate transaction and is it properly arbitrable, i.e., is there some basis on which an award could be based?
- If an arbitrable issue exists, are the parties required to arbitrate or is their participation voluntary?
- Is the amount in dispute too small or too large for the Board to arbitrate?
- Is the matter too legally complex, involving issues that the arbitrators may not be able to address in a knowledgeable way?
- Is there a sufficient number of knowledgeable arbitrators available?
If all of the relevant questions have been considered, and a majority of the Grievance Committee conclude that the matter is properly arbitrable by the Board, the Grievance Committee shall send the request for arbitration to the Chairperson of the Professional Standards Committee for arbitration by an arbitration Hearing Panel. Complainants are not required to prove their case when initially filing an arbitration request. An arbitration request may not be dismissed for lack of evidence if the arbitration request is otherwise arbitable, timely filed, and the arbitration is one of the circumstances described in Section 44, Duty and Privilege to Arbitrate. (Revised 11/15)
C. Appeals from the decision of the Grievance Committee related to a request for arbitration
If the Grievance Committee determines that a matter should not be arbitrated by the Board (because of the amount involved or the legal complexity, or for any other valid reason specified in the Grievance Committee decision and written report), the reason(s) for dismissing the request will be stated in the notice of dismissal. Any party may appeal the decision to the Board of Directors within twenty (20) days from transmittal of notice of the committee decision using Form #A-20, Appeal of Grievance Committee (or Hearing Panel) Dismissal or Appeal of Classification of Arbitration Request. The request for arbitration and any attachments cannot be revised, modified, or supplemented. The party appealing the dismissal may, however, explain in writing why they disagree with the Grievance Committee’s conclusion that the request for arbitration should be dismissed. The Hearing Panel can also dismiss the arbitration request if the Hearing Panel concludes the matter is not arbitrable. Appeals of dismissals/classifications shall be heard at the Directors’ next regularly scheduled meeting or at a special meeting designated for that purpose, but no later than ten (10) days after the date of receipt of the appeal. The Directors’ decision shall be transmitted to the parties within five (5) days from the date of the decision. (Amended 11/15)
The materials which were presented to the Grievance Committee when the Grievance Committee made its decision will be presented to the Board of Directors and considered with the appeal, together with any party’s rationale challenging the Grievance Committee's dismissal. The parties to the arbitration (complainant and respondent) do not have the right to appear at the appeal hearing before the Directors. In the event a request for arbitration is dismissed, any deposit submitted by the complainant shall be returned to the complainant. (Revised 11/12)