About MBAKS

Aspiring to be the most trusted and respected housing experts in the Puget Sound region.

Hero About

Code of Ethics

Introduction

This Code of Ethics embraces a set of Core Values focusing on our Members, people and Association. The Association’s Core Values include Respect, Collaboration, Dedication, Recognition, Accountability, and Innovation. Through a common set of Core Values, we will: enhance our commitment to excellence; provide the best possible Membership experience; ensure that we continue to attract and retain high performing employees; protect the reputation of the Association; focus our attention on our Vision and Mission; and create a financially sustainable future for the Association. Behavior that is inconsistent with our Core Values or results in non-compliance with the Association’s Code of Ethics can impair other Members’ enjoyment of the Association, impair the Association’s effectiveness, have adverse impacts on our employees, and damage the reputation and health of the Association.

The Association expects that Members and Member representatives will respect each other and all Association Staff and that inappropriate or disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated. The Association’s goal in promulgating this Revised Code of Ethics is to ensure that all Members and Member representatives understand the level of conduct that is expected of them and establish a process for investigating and addressing conduct alleged to violate the Code of Ethics. With better understanding of expectations among the Members, the Association expects that violations will be minimized. Accordingly, Members will be required to reaffirm this Code of Ethics annually.

Members pledge to uphold this Code of Ethics to:

  • Conduct our business in a manner that reflects credit on the MBA, our industry and the Member.
  • Avoid any statements or implications that may be misleading or deceptive.
  • Describe accurately and honestly the price, materials or standards of workmanship used in a Member’s job.
  • Provide high standards of health and safety from land development though construction of homes.
  • Deal fairly with employees, subcontracts, suppliers, customers and anyone else involved in the Member’s projects.
  • Encourage research to develop new materials, building techniques, improved building practices and financing methods.
  • Perform to the standards of the NAHB residential construction performance guideline, in effect at the time of construction.
  • Offer a minimum one-year written warranty and use MBA’s dispute resolution process to settle disagreements with homeowners should the need arise.
  • Support our local, state, and national MBAs and all related industries concerned with providing affordable housing as it is mutually beneficial to MBAKS interests and members.
  • Do business with MBA members when possible.
  • Register as a contractor in the state of Washington if required to do so.
  • Provide the Association with a current copy of the Member’s certificate of insurance as requested.
  • Not to engage in or facilitate any discriminatory or harassing or retaliatory behavior directed towards Association Staff, Members, officers, directors or any third parties (including meeting attendees, exhibitors, advertisers, sponsors, suppliers, contractors or others) in the context of activities relating to the MBA.
  • Act consistent with the Association’s Core Values (Accountable; Innovative; Collaborative; Recognizing; Dedicated; and Respectful) in activities relating to the Association or when dealing with MBA Staff, Members, officers, directors and third parties.

Inappropriate Conduct Towards Fellow Members, Association Guests and Employees

It is not possible to identify every conceivable example of improper conduct in violation of this Code of Ethics that may result in disciplinary action. The guiding principle is that Members and Member representatives should always conduct themselves in a professional, civil and respectful manner, consistent with our Core Values and this Code of Ethics towards other Members, guests and Association employees, and should reflect positively on the Association and industry. Failure to do so may be subject a Member to discipline. Some more commonly encountered behaviors that might result in disciplinary action are more fully described in the following sections.

The Association’s Staff and its dedicated Members are among our most prized attributes. Providing the best possible membership experience requires the Association to be able to attract and retain top-notch employees. Association employees represent a major investment in recruiting, training and retention. Their institutional knowledge about the Association, our programs and issues all are reflected in the motivated employees who enjoy working at the Association. Inappropriate behavior, when directed at employees, threatens the Association’s ability to attract and retain the caliber of employees essential to the Association’s success. Inappropriate behavior, when directed at fellow Members threatens the Association’s ability to attract a diverse, informed and active member base essential to the Association’s success.

Accordingly, the following are illustrative examples of conduct that violates the Code of Ethics:

  • Engaging in rude, disrespectful, vulgar, threatening, harassing or otherwise offensive or inappropriate behavior that disturbs others, interferes with the planning or execution of an Association activity or event or substantially interferes with an employee’s ability to do their job;
  • Threatening, disparaging, bullying, or reprimanding an Association employee or Member in any way including verbally, by telephone, in writing or by any other means;
  • Engaging in any conduct generally accepted as harassment, sexual or otherwise or by creating a hostile workplace; or
  • Encouraging an employee to do anything that violates MBAKS rules or policies.

If a Member has a concern with any aspect of an Association employee’s performance of his/her duties, the Member should express those concerns to the Executive Director. If the concern relates to the performance of the Executive Director, those concerns should be expressed to the Association’s Board President.

Conduct Detrimental to the Reputation of the Association

Deliberate or careless actions by Members that clearly and substantially damage the Association’s reputation will not be tolerated. The following are among actions that violate the Code of Ethics and can damage the Association’s reputation:

  • Lack of candor or transparency in dealing with the Ethics Committee;
  • Engaging in activity prohibited by law;
  • Violating any Association policy;
  • Originating, forwarding or distributing emails or other written or electronic materials to Members or non-Members that (1) include harmful gossip, erroneous, malicious, threatening, disparaging, disrespectful, offensive or non-constructive critical comments of the Association, or employees and (2) are otherwise damaging to the reputation of the Association, or employees; and
  • Actively financing, promoting or supporting individuals or groups who are perpetrating actions detrimental to the Association, or its employees.

The Association welcomes constructive comments from its Members to the Executive Director and the Board of Directors regarding ways in which the Association could improve the membership experience. Member complaints concerning employees are to be addressed solely to the Executive Director. Complaints about the Executive Director should be addressed to the Board President.

This section is not intended to discourage Members from communicating their disappointments, issues or concerns constructively with the Association Management and the Board. Rather, the Board encourages Members to communicate in a way that is respectful of the Board, Executive Management, and the Association.

Complaints and Violations

Members, Member representatives, or employees of the Association who either observe or are affected by any behavior of a Member or Member representative that violates the Code of Ethics or Law may make a complaint. Complaints may be verbal or in writing and can be provided to a supervisor at the Association, Executive Director, CFO/COO, HR director, a Member of the Ethics Committee, or a member of the MBAKS Board of Directors.

Ethics Committee

The Executive Committee shall establish an Ethics Committee as a Standing Committee of the Board under the Bylaws. The Ethics Committee shall have three voting members, one alternate and the Executive Director. The Ethics Committee is charged to address conduct of Members that is alleged to violate the Code of Ethics. The Ethics Committee shall consist of: the Past President of the Board who shall serve as the Chair and who shall choose the other committee members; a Builder Member of the Board; an Associate Member of the Board; and another Builder or Associate Member of the Board, who shall serve as an alternate in the event that any of the other three voting members of the Ethics Committee are unable to participate, including due to a conflict of interest. The Association’s Executive Director shall be a non-voting member of the Ethics Committee.

The Disciplinary Process

As set forth below, the Ethics Committee shall investigate reported misconduct by Members and Member representatives, and in appropriate situations meet with the Member or Member representative accused of misconduct to improve the behavior going forward. If necessary, the Ethics Committee will conduct interviews with Members and Member Representatives who are allegedly in violation and shall have authority to impose sanctions or to recommend that the alleged conduct warrants the Board considering the suspending or revocation of membership and/or the member representative’s privileges.

If necessary to meet the Association’s obligations set forth in Association policy or law, or if there is a good faith basis for a complaint by an Association employee of improper conduct by a Member, then pending completion of an investigation the Executive Director or the Chair of the Ethics Committee may, on an interim basis, prohibit the Member or Member representative from attending Association events and/or contacting Association Staff pending the resolution of the investigation.

When the MBAKS Executive Director, HR Staff, the Ethics Committee, or the Board receives a complaint or otherwise becomes aware of an alleged violation of the Member Code of Ethics, the typical process will be as follows:

  • The Association’s Staff and the Ethics Committee will cooperatively investigate the incident to determine the facts of the case and the concerns of the affected Member(s) or employee(s).
  • The individual(s) accused of the alleged violation may be invited to discuss the incident with two or more voting members of the Ethics Committee and the Executive Director.
  • This discussion determines whether the incident can be resolved at this stage or whether it needs to be referred to the whole Ethics Committee for a full investigation.
  • If a full Ethics Committee investigation is necessary, the Ethics Committee will notify the accused Member or Member representative of the time for meeting, during which the Member or Member representative will have the opportunity to present his or her position to the Ethics Committee and/or the independent investigator retained by the Association. Unless an independent investigator has been retained, the investigation is intended to be a peer to peer process and is generally closed to all except the members of the Ethics Committee, Association Executive Director, Association HR Staff (if an employee is the complainant), and the Member or Member representative who is the subject of the hearing. If Staff has made the complaint and their participation is helpful, they may be asked by the Ethics Committee to participate in the meeting.
  • Retaliation against any person making a complaint in good faith or participating in an investigation or Ethics Committee investigation is strictly prohibited by law, Association policy and the Code of Ethics. This prohibition on retaliation will be strictly enforced by the Ethics Committee and the Board.
  • Regarding each alleged violation, the Ethics Committee will either determine a course of action or will recommend a course of action for discussion at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting.
  • The Ethics Committee may impose the following consequences for a violation of the Member Code of Ethics:
    • Dismissal: The Ethics Committee may dismiss the alleged violation and take no action.
    • Reprimand Letter: When a violation is sustained, the Ethics Committee may send a letter of reprimand to the Member and Member representative and place such letter in the Member and Member representative file for future reference.
    • Probation: When a violation is sustained the Ethics Committee may place the Member and/or Member representative on probation for a specific period. During this time, if a further incident occurs, including but not limited to any act of retaliation, an immediate additional penalty may be imposed the severity of which may be more extensive.
    • Suspension of Member Representative: When a violation is sustained, the Ethics Committee may suspend the Member representative for a specific period and during such period, the Member representative may not participate in any Association activity.
    • Expulsion of Member Representative from Involvement in the Association and Substitution of Member Representative: When a violation is sustained, the Ethics Committee may ban the Member representative from all future involvement in the Association and may require a Member to substitute an alternative Member representative.
  • If Ethics Committee determines the alleged violation is egregious enough to warrant suspension or revocation of membership, then the Ethics Committee shall submit its recommended course of action for discussion at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. In such case, the Board will review the Ethics Committee recommendation and make a final determination of action, which will then be communicated in writing to the Member and Member representative. The options the Board may consider include Dismissal, Reprimand Letter, Probation, or one of the following:
    • Suspension: When a violation is sustained, the Board may suspend the Member and/or Member representative for a specific period. During the period of suspension, all privileges of Association membership may be suspended for the Member and/or the Member representative. Dues payments continue to apply.
    • Expulsion: When a violation is sustained the Board my expel a Member and/or Member representative from the Association permanently in which case the Member and/or Member representative will permanently forfeit all their Membership privileges and the Member representative is permanently barred from participating in all MBAKS events and programs.

A vote for suspension or expulsion shall require a two-thirds vote of all Directors present. A vote for any other consequence shall require a simple majority of Directors present.

 


Revised February 13, 2020


Photo courtesy Ashworth Homes