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How Do You Create a Workplace Diversity Policy?

Fair Housing Month: NAR says a commitment to equality makes good business sense, furthers compliance with existing laws and promotes a culture that welcomes everyone.

WASHINGTON – Real estate brokerages are creating policies to illustrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as serve as a leader in their communities, according to the latest “Window to the Law” video produced by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Its legal team provides a closer look at the elements needed to create a company diversity, equity and inclusion policy (DEI).

The instruction comes during Fair Housing Month, which President Joe Biden reinforced by issuing a presidential proclamation.

“Implementing a diversity and inclusion program not only makes good business sense, it can also further your business’s compliance with existing laws and promote a culture that welcomes everyone and even help grow your business,” says Charlie Lee, senior counsel at NAR, in the video. A good DEI policy goes beyond what the law may require and can help a brokerage avoid legal issues related to discrimination, harassment and fair housing.

Lee suggests including the following in a company’s diversity, equity and inclusion policy:

  • Create a task force of leaders, workers, and consultants to provide insights of what your organization has done well and in areas it can improve.
  • Understand the differences between diversity, equity and inclusion, and create values and guidelines to reflect each area.
  • Identify actionable items to ensure the workplace better reflects diversity. Consider the vendors used and whether you share their values.
  • Add staff training and development tools to help achieve your DEI mission goals. For example, NAR offers Realtors and brokers the At Home with Diversity certification, online fair housing simulation tools like Fairhaven, and implicit bias training.
  • Periodically check how you’re doing. Create a new position or assign a task to an existing employee to serve as the office “DEI champion” to monitor the brokerage’s progress and goals.

Source: “Creating a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy,” Window to the Law/National Association of REALTORS® (April 2021)

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