The REIA encourages and supports sexual harassment victims in real estate to speak out, Adrian Kelly said.
REB recently highlighted a case of sexual harassment within the real estate industry.
A Queensland agent spoke to REB under the alias of Kate Howard. She revealed how sexism and bullying affected her and knocked her confidence.
Following Ms Howard’s revelation, REINSW president Leanne Pilkington spoke up about how she was a victim of sexual harassment.
REIA president Adrian Kelly told REB he is disappointed these stories still emerge in this day and age.
As a result, Mr Kelly has added this topic to the schedule of REIA’s next meeting in Darwin on 2 April.
“Any form of sexism or sexual abuse, both in and out of the workplace, is completely unacceptable, and all industry leaders and business owners should adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding these types of behaviours,” Mr Kelly said.
A zero-tolerance policy is something Ms Howard supports.
“Agencies need to have a plan, 100 per cent,” she told REB.
When REB asked Mr Kelly what the REIA could do to find a solution to this issue, he pointed out that the institute’s role is to support its members, which are the REIs in each state and territory.
“REINSW and its president have been particularly vocal about this topic, and the REIA is absolutely in favour of their positive efforts.”
REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin told REB there is also a commercial incentive for offices to have robust sexual harassment policies.
“People in business want to attract the best people into their organisations. If somebody comes to an organisation and the culture there is to permit that kind of behaviour, then you won’t attract, and you won’t retain, the best people... you will have an adverse commercial outcome, an adverse financial outcome,” he said.
Additionally, more work needs to be done by real estate leaders to ensure agencies have robust HR plans in place to address sexual harassment in the workplace, Starr Partners CEO Douglas Driscoll said.
“When it comes to real estate principals, they have so much on their plate as it is. HR is something that’s way down the list of priorities,” Mr Driscoll said. “Whereas my view is that it should be right at the top because the moment you employ anybody... you have an obligation, you have a responsibility.”