The suit claims NAR fired a Black employee after she broke off a relationship with then-president-elect Kenny Parcell. NAR said it rejects the claims.

A new lawsuit accuses the National Association of Realtors of racial and sexual discrimination, alleging that President Kenny Parcell harassed female employees — one of whom claims she was fired after breaking off a relationship with him.

Janelle Brevard and her attorneys filed the suit Tuesday in federal court. Brevard served as NAR’s chief storyteller from August 2019 until September 2022, and according to the suit’s complaint never had any performance or disciplinary issues while at the trade organization. Nevertheless, the complaint alleges that Brevard was harassed and ultimately fired after breaking off a relationship with Parcell and speaking to lawyers. She was also singled out, the complaint argues, because she was Black.

Parcell’s name is mentioned repeatedly throughout the complaint, but only NAR is listed as an actual defendant in the suit.

In a statement, NAR Vice President of Communications Mantill Williams told Inman that the trade organization “prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our employees.”

“It is our practice to fully investigate all claims that are brought to our attention and take action, as warranted,” Williams added. “We reject the claims filed in this lawsuit and we will vigorously defend against them.”

Inman has also reached out to Brevard’s attorneys and to Parcell for comment and will update this story with any responses they provide. In addition, Inman reached out to Polsinelli Law Firm, which according to the complaint investigated harassment claims at NAR, but the company declined to comment on the situation.

According to the complaint, Brevard’s case began when she had a relationship with Parcell — then serving as NAR’s president-elect — that involved “sexually explicit conversations as well as Parcell’s request for sexual favors.”

The complaint additionally states that Brevard had “various text messages, photos and other items evidencing the sexual relationship” with Parcell.

However, Brevard reportedly told Parcell in June 2022 that she didn’t want to continue the relationship. In response, Parcell “threatened to retaliate,” according to the complaint, then ultimately followed through on that threat.

“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 states, referring to Brevard as the plaintiff.

The situation allegedly further escalated last year when Brevard was called into a meeting and “shockingly” was told she was being fired for not disclosing the relationship with Parcell. The complaint argues that NAR “does not have a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for” firing Brevard.

According to the complaint, the firing came after Brevard met with attorneys to discuss alleged harassment.

The complaint also notes that Parcell — the other participant in the relationship — wasn’t fired, but was instead elevated to NAR’s presidency two months later.

Additionally, three other women also spoke to attorneys about Parcell’s behavior but weren’t fired, the complaint alleges. The complaint goes on to note that the other three women are white, as is Parcell, while Brevard is Black.

“Defendant discriminated against plaintiff based on her race,” the complaint concludes.

Allegations against Parcell that the other women raised 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 states.

The suit ultimately alleges six different counts of racial and sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The complaint asks the court to, among other things, award Brevard lost pay and benefits, reinstate her job, and award her compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional damage.

Read the entire complaint:

Email Jim Dalrymple II

agent safety | NAR
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