The Hearing Process

The Hearing Process

After an Ethics Complaint is received, it goes through up to four stages, depending on whether it results in a hearing or a dismissal.

  1. Grievance Review
  2. Ethics Hearing
  3. Appeal Rights
  4. Ratification Panel

Grievance Review

Minnesota Realtors® forwards a copy of the complaint to the Realtor® and, if applicable, their broker. A Grievance Review Panel (GRP) is assembled from three members of the Minnesota Realtors® Professional Standards Committee. The GRP evaluates the complaint and determines if it should be dismissed, closed or warrants a hearing.

A complaint is dismissed if the GRP finds that it does not demonstrate a Code violation, or it was not filed in time. The decision can be appealed by filing this form within 20 days of the dismissal notice’s transmittal: E-22 Appeal of GRP Dismissal of Ethics Complaint.

If the GRP can’t make a determination because the complaint is vague, insufficient or otherwise unclear, they will close the file. However, the complaint can be refiled with additional information to correct its insufficiencies as long as the 180-day filing deadline has not passed.

Citation or Hearing 
If the facts reveal a possible Code of Ethics violation, the GRP either issues a Citation or refers the complaint to the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) for a hearing. A Hearing Panel is drawn from PSC members who do not serve on the GRP. If there are questions about the timeliness of the complaint filing or other administrative issues, they are resolved at a Pre-Hearing Meeting. NOTE: These meetings are held at the discretion of the PSC Chair.

Scheduled Hearing
Finally, a hearing is scheduled, and the Hearing Panel determines if a violation has occurred. Depending on the findings, it recommends appropriate disciplinary action.

Appeal Rights

Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to appeal the Hearing Panel’s decision within 20 days of its transmission. The appeals process for each party must meet specific criteria.

The complainant can appeal based only on alleged procedural deficiencies or other lack of procedural due process that may have prevented a full and fair hearing.

The respondent may appeal based upon:

  • Misapplication or misinterpretation of an Article(s) of the COE
  • Procedural deficiency or any lack of procedural due process that may have prevented a full and fair hearing
  • The discipline recommended by the Hearing Panel

File an Appeal

The appeals process begins by filling out the E-13, Request for Ethics Appeal form.

The appeal must be accompanied by a $250 filing fee, which is:

  • Fully refunded if the Appeal Panel overturns the Hearing Panel’s decision 
  • Partly refunded ($125) if the decision is partially upheld 
  • Not refunded if the decision is upheld 

For further details about the Ethics Appeal Hearing procedures, please see: Outline of Procedure for Ethics Appeal.

Ratification Panel

If no appeal is filed within 20 days of the Hearing Panel’s final decision, it is forwarded to a Ratification Panel. Composed of three members from Minnesota Realtors® Executive Committee, this impartial, unbiased panel either adopts the decision or rejects it based on concerns about:

  • Possible procedural deficiencies
  • Appropriateness of the recommended sanctions
  • Facts that don’t seem to support a COE violation