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Webinar: Private Harassing Speech, Hate Speech, Epithets, or Slurs: Rules for Realtors®

March 5, 2021 @ 12:00 pm 1:15 pm

1.25 Hours MCLE; 1.25 Legal Ethics; 1.25 Recognition and Elimination of Bias

Last year, on November 13, 2020, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) adopted Standard of Practice 10-5 as part of the NAR Code of Ethics.  This new ethical obligation provides that “REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” How does this rule apply to private social media posts? What criteria will Associations of Realtors® apply in addressing claims that a Realtor® violated the Standard of Practice?  These and other pertinent questions will be addressed by a practicing REALTOR® and two attorneys who advise local Associations and are familiar with industry practice.  

Moderator: Suzanne Yost. Speakers: Jeremy Olsan, John Giardinelli, and Matthew I. Difanis.

Matthew I. Difanis

Matt served as the Chair of the National Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee in 2020. He served as president of the Illinois REALTORS® in 2018. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, and he is broker-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates with five offices throughout the Champaign-Urbana metro area in Central Illinois. He works full time with clients himself, while also leading a high-producing team. He also trains nationally on the NAR Code of Ethics.

John Giardinelli

John V. Giardinelli is the principal and founding attorney of The Giardinelli Law Group, APC. He currently serves as “Of Counsel” to Tyler & Bursch, LLP. Admitted to the California State Bar in 1977, John honed his skills on transactions and litigation in real estate, business, and general litigation. Currently, his practice is focused on real estate and business law. He represents eight REALTOR® Associations with membership exceeding 35,000 REALTORS®. He regularly lectures on real estate related matters, such as contract formation, property management, and fair housing. He trains and oversees Professional Standards for several REALTOR® Associations. He also advises brokerage firms, business entities, and owner brokers, agents, homeowners, and developers. His diverse background in real estate, business law, litigation, land use, contract law, corporate law, business strategic planning, and the preparation of real estate and business transactional documents enables him to provide effective representation and thorough legal advice to his clients on a wide range of matters.

Jeremy Olsan

From 2008 until 2020 Jeremy was a partner in the firm of Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller& Moskowitz, LLP, where he led the firm’s real estate and business law practice groups. Prior to joining the Perry firm as a partner in 2008, he had been a shareholder for ten years with the Santa Rosa firm of Anderson Zeigler.

Jeremy is an active community volunteer and leader. He is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of the Career Technical Education Foundation, and he Chairs the Governance Committee of the Board of Directors of the Redwood Empire Food Bank. He was Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association Real Property Law Section. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association and State Bar’s Real Property Law Sections, and continues to serve as an Advisor to the Executive Committee. Jeremy also represents several REALTOR® Associations in Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Alameda Counties.

Suzanne Yost has been a Realtor since 1980, currently with Compass in Los Gatos, CA. She is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in California. In addition to being a real estate broker associate and an expert witness, Suzanne teaches contract, risk management and other continuing education courses for the California and local Associations of Realtors and Graduate Realtor Institute as master faculty, as well as being one of 10 facilitators of the NAR Realtor Leadership Program. Suzanne is a past President (2012) of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, past Chair of the Bay Area Realtor Leadership Academy, 2009 graduate of the NAR Leadership Academy, has served in various leadership positions for the California and National Association of Realtors.

Suzanne has recently been awarded the distinction of Director for Life for the California Association of REALTORS, which is the second highest award given by the organization.

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