Model Policies for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Church Workers
The Church Pension Group and The Nathan Network provide a guide for churches and dioceses. The Nathan Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the Episcopal Church by providing support for those engaged in preventing and/or responding to sexual misconduct through training and empowerment, education, spiritual support, resources, and networking.
Download Model Policies for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Church Workers
A simple statement you can adapt and adopt:
XYZ Church is committed to maintaining a working environment that is free from sexual harassment and other types of discriminatory harassment. XYZ Church’s commitment begins with the recognition and acknowledgment that such harassment is, of course, unlawful. To reinforce this commitment, XYZ Church has developed a policy against harassment and a reporting procedure for employees who have experienced or witnessed harassment. This policy applies to all work-related settings and activities, whether inside or outside the workplace, and includes business trips and XYZ Church-related events. XYZ Church employees are not to use systems and equipment (e.g. telephones, voice mail, copy machines, facsimile machines, computers, and computer applications such as e-mail and Internet access) for any illegal activity or conduct that violates this policy. XYZ Church’s policy against harassment covers employees. It is necessary for employees to report any experiences of inappropriate conduct by someone who may have business with the XYZ Church (e.g., vendors, contractors).
It is helpful for congregations to have an employee manual that spells out the church’s policies, benefits, etc. The following are provided as examples you can use to develop one for your church.
Please be aware that whatever you put into a manual establishes your legal obligations. So it if you are, for example, generous and always give employees the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day “off,” it is better to do that each year as a “gift” and not include it in your manual. If you put it in your manual, you are obligated to close the office that week — even if it turns out, five years from now, that you really need your staff to be present. So a manual is a place for the rules. Provide exceptions to the rules (bonuses, extra days off, etc.) on a case-by-case basis.
It is also helpful to have an employment lawyer or at least someone who works in Human Resources review the manual before you publish it. Call the diocese if you need recommendations for who might do this for you if your congregation has no one with that experience.
Employee Handbook – Diocese of RI
XYZ Church is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. XYZ Church’s policy regarding equal employment opportunity applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, hiring, job assignments, promotions, working conditions, scheduling, benefits, wage and salary administration, disciplinary action, termination, and social, educational and recreational programs. Except where the position could affect or relate to the religious principles or doctrines of the Episcopal Church, parishes will adhere to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to religious beliefs. XYZ Church will not tolerate any form of discrimination and the expectation is that all employees will cooperate fully in implementing this policy. If an employee believes there has been a violation of the policies on discrimination, immediate reporting to the Rector and/or appropriate person at XYZ Church is necessary.
(template only — adapt for your church)