The policies of the Diocese of Northern California extend beyond the requirements of secular law in two respects. Our policies extend to harassment of any kind for any reason; whereas secular law protects against only harassment that is sexual.
The second difference concerns volunteers. Laws protecting workers from sexual harassment or other harassment in the workplace only apply to “employees” and not to “volunteers.” Federal laws provide various legal rights to employees who have been subjected to illegal sexual harassment.
Volunteer church workers are not protected by sexual harassment laws. However, General Convention Resolution A156 (2006) specifically states that all church workers, both paid and volunteer, must be protected by diocesan and congregational policies.
What this means is that both paid and volunteer workers will have the same rights to an environment free from sexual harassment under the organization’s policies BUT volunteer workers do not have the same legal rights given to paid employees under federal, state and local sexual harassment laws.
A church employer must work to prevent the sexual harassment of volunteer workers, stop any harassment that is occurring and protect the volunteer worker from retaliation but the volunteer worker will not have the same legal rights.
Please see Appendix B in the Diocesan policy for more information.
Please click on Session II: Definitions