The National Association of Realtors’ legal troubles have continued this week. A new lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, accuses the trade group of racial and sexual discrimination and alleges that NAR president Kenny Parcell harassed female employees.
The lawsuit’s plaintiff, Janelle Brevard, claims that she was fired from her position as NAR’s chief storyteller after breaking off a relationship with Parcell in June 2022 and speaking to lawyers about his alleged sexual harassment.
The complaint also argues that Brevard, who is Black, was singled out due to her race.
While mentioned by name several times throughout the complaint, Parcell is not named as a defendant in the suit.
During her tenure as NAR’s chief storyteller from August 2019 until September 2022, Brevard never had any performance or disciplinary issues, according to the complaint.
The complaint states the Brevard’s relationship with Parcell began when he was serving as NAR’s president-elect and it involved “sexually explicit conversations as well as Parcell’s request for sexual favors.”
Brevard also has “various text messages, photos and other items evidencing the sexual relationship” with Parcell, according to the filing.
The complaint states that in June 2022, Brevard told Parcell she no longer wished to continue the relationship — and that Parcell “threatened to retaliate.”
“Specifically, Parcell would exclude plaintiff from meetings plaintiff would normally attend; he excluded plaintiff from business trips she would normally attend; Parcell would disparage plaintiff at every turn; and Parcell even made several threats to plaintiff that he would terminate her employment,” the complaint, which refers to Brevard as the plaintiff, reads.
The complaint states that three months later, in September 2022, Brevard was called into a meeting and told she was fired for not disclosing her relationship with Parcell. The complaint notes that this occurred just after Brevard met with attorneys to discusses alleged sexual harassment.
However, Brevard was allegedly not the only female employee to meet with attorneys to discuss Parcell’s behavior.
According to the complaint, three other women, who are all white, met with attorneys to discuss allegations that include “sending lewd text messages and photos, forcibly placing a female staff member’s hands on his genitals and publicly berating and refusing to work with a pregnant staff member.”
The complaint argues to that due to this, the NAR “does not have a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for” firing Brevard and that NAR “discriminated against plaintiff based on her race.”
The suit alleges six different counts of racial and sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation in total and asks the court to award Brevard lost pay and benefits, reinstate her job, and award her compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional damage.
“NAR prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our employees,” Mantill Williams, NAR’s vice president of communications, wrote in an email. “It is our practice to fully investigate all claims that are brought to our attention and take action, as warranted. We reject the claims filed in this lawsuit and we will vigorously defend against them.”
The attorney listed for the plaintiff did not return a request for comment prior to the time of publication.