Ethics Complaint Instructions and Information
Any person, whether a member or not, may file a complaint against an Association member alleging a Code of Ethics violation for any of the 17 Articles. The complaint must be filed with the Association having jurisdiction over the individuals named in the complaint. Ethics complaints must be filed within 180 days after the facts constituting the matter complained of could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence.
To file a written complaint, take the following steps:
- Complete and sign the complaint form supplied by the La Crosse Area REALTORS® Association, or printed from this site. This form requests you to name the REALTOR(s)® in question as the Respondent(s).
- You will be provided with a copy of the Code of Ethics. You must cite the Article(s) of the Code that you think the REALTOR(s)® violated.
- Attach copies of any and all pertinent documents such as listing agreements, purchase and sales agreements, addenda, etc. If you have affidavits notarized from witnesses, include those also.
- Send the entire package, keeping a copy for yourself, to the La Crosse Area REALTORS® Association, 111 6th St. South, La Crosse, WI 54601.
A Review Panel made up of three members of the Association's Professional Standards Committee will review your written complaint. Based on the assumption that your complaint is true, the Panel will determine if the allegations could constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics and therefore warrant further consideration. The Review Panel does not determine guilt or innocence.
After reviewing the complaint, the Review Panel will either:
- Forward the case for a hearing if the facts alleged, taken as true, could constitute a violation of the Code;
- Dismiss it, if the complaint is determined to be frivolous, harassing or unfounded (i.e., the facts alleged, even if true, do not constitute a violation of the code); or
- Postpone its decision to get more information or to determine that the case may be more appropriately considered for arbitration.
If the Panel dismisses your complaint, you have the right to appeal the dismissal to the Board of Directors. In the case of an appeal, the Directors review only the materials submitted to the Review Panel. The Directors can then either uphold or overturn the Review Panel's decision.
If the complaint merits further consideration, it will be sent to an Ethics Hearing Panel for a hearing.
If a Review Panel refers your ethics complaint to a hearing, you will be notified of the hearing date, time and place. An ethics hearing provides an opportunity for the Complainant and the Respondent to explain his or her side of the story by presenting testimony, evidence and witnesses, if any.
Once all the facts have been presented, an Ethics Hearing Panel, consisting of members of the Professional Standards Committee, will determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated. If a panel determines that the Code has been violated, it can recommend to the Board of Directors that disciplinary action be taken. The Association can use one or more of the following ways to discipline a member:
- Letter of Warning with a copy to be placed in the member's file for a specified period of time
- Letter of Reprimand with a copy to be placed in the member's file for a specified period of time
- Requirement that the member attend the ethics portion of the Association Indoctrination Course or other appropriate course or seminar specified by the Hearing Panel which the member could reasonably attend taking into consideration cost, location and duration
- Appropriate and reasonable fine not to exceed $5,000
- Member placed on probation for a stated period of time not less than thirty (30) days nor more than one (1) year
- Membership suspended for a stated period of time not less than thirty (30) days nor more than one (1) year, with automatic reinstatement of membership in good standing at the end of the specified period of suspension
- Expulsion from membership with no reinstatement privilege for a specified period of one (1) to three (3) years, with reinstatement of membership to be by application only after the specified period of expulsion, on the merits of the application at the time received
- Suspension or termination of MLS rights and privileges may also be utilized. Suspension of MLS services may be no less than thirty (30) days nor more than one (1) year; termination of MLS services shall be for a stated period of one (1) to three (3) years
- An administrative processing fee of $500 will be assessed against Respondents found in violation of the Code of Ethics. This fee is an addition to and not part of any sanction that be imposed.
An ethics proceeding may not include money damages.
The Association will inform you about each step of this process as it occurs. The Association will also give you instructions about hearing procedures prior to the hearing.
If you have questions relating to filing an ethics complaint, please call the
La Crosse Area REALTORS® Association at 608-785-7744.
Forms: Form E-1