$60,000 penalty for making small talk with a client?

Written by Posted On Monday, 27 January 2014 12:47

Anyone who works in a corporate environment has undoubtedly become extremely cautious about the way that they speak and act so that nothing said or done can potentially be misconstrued by a fellow employee, a client or a prospect of the firm! 

For those of us that began our careers in the 80′s or even the ’90′s this move towards a 100% politically correct and sterile work environment is somewhat foreign and in fact took some serious getting used to.

As someone whose first job out of business school was at a major Wall Street bank and on a trading floor to boot I can tell you that politically incorrect behavior was more the rule there than the exception.

Given this new environment I was still taken aback this morning while reading an article written by an attorney in Massachusetts about a real estate broker who, in the midst of innocent small talk, asked her client where she was from.

The result? A lawsuit and a decision (since appealed with the award slashed, not eliminated) that found the agent guilty of asking an unlawful question based on Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151B and the Boston Fair Housing Commission Regulations that makes it illegal for any licensed real estate broker “to cause to be made any written or oral inquiry or record concerning . . . national origin.”

The financial penalty was over $60,000 including $10,000 for emotional distress that did not include the legal fees the broker incurred for her own defense.

Read the story at The Political Commentator here.

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Michael Haltman

Hallmark Abstract Service provides title insurance for both residential and commercial real estate transactions in New York State.

Hallmark Abstract President Michael Haltman is also extremely involved with the combat veterans 501(c)(3) Heroes To Heroes Foundation, serving as the Board Chair.

Hallmark Abstract Service

In 2008 we opened our doors focused on two primary goals:

Number one was to be a title insurance company that would provide clients with a superior finished product that completely protects their interests for what will likely be one of the largest transactions of their lifetime.

Number two was to insure that the experience of working with Hallmark Abstract Service was as easy and seamless as possible for all parties involved in the transaction!

From the number of satisfied clients who come back to Hallmark Abstract Service time after time for their title insurance needs, the evidence bears out that we have accomplished these two goals in the past and will maintain our client centric focus far into the future!

Michael Haltman

Post 1984 MBA in Finance from the State University of New York at Albany that concentrated on the tax-exempt market, Michael became a municipal bond analyst at Shearson/Lehman Brothers tasked with following general obligation issuers on the city and state level as well as housing bonds secured by mortgage pools.

This experience at Shearson/Lehman Brothers followed by stints at PaineWebber and Citigroup provided a broad framework and understanding of the real estate and mortgage markets.

As CEO of Exeter Commercial which underwrote and funded commercial mortgage loans as a correspondent lender, title insurance played a critical role in both the underwriting and closing process.

In 2008 recognizing both an opportunity and need, Hallmark Abstract Service was born.


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