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

on Aug26
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Other women interviewed said the issues go beyond N.A.R.’s headquarters. Executives, they said, have been made aware of complaints about the behavior of the group’s members for years, and continually failed to take action.

Suzi Dunkel-Soto, a Realtor in Alhambra, Calif., said a male Realtor took a photo up her skirt during a graduation ceremony for the N.A.R. leadership academy held in Boston in October 2018. Ms. Dunkel-Soto, 57, said she reached out to N.A.R.’s chief legal officer to report the incident, leaving multiple messages. She said her calls were never returned. When The Times asked about the incident, N.A.R. said it “addressed this incident appropriately with the male Realtor involved,” but did not give details.

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

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.

Months after making a report of sexual harassment and discrimination to N.A.R.’s human resources department, Roshani Sheth was fired from her job as a product manager for a N.A.R. subsidiary, Realtors Information Network. According to her claim, Ms. Sheth was the only woman and person of color on her team, and her male superiors had stared at her breasts, referred to her career ambition as “unattractive” and made inappropriate comments about her body and marital status. In an interview with The Times, she said 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. It is now being examined by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After filing the complaint, Ms. Sheth, who lives in Chicago, received text messages from an unknown number referring to her as a “rat” and telling her “kys,” which is text shorthand for “kill yourself.” Ms. Sheth filed a police report.

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