Sexual harassment is a type of harassment involving the use of explicit or implicit sexual overtones, including the unwelcome and inappropriate promises of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment can be physical and/or verbal.
Sexual harassment is about unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors of a sexual nature when it comes to conditions and decisions around employment. This includes both verbal and physical conduct.
If you ask me, sexual harassment is a type of work disruption that can occur without the employer even knowing. In some very small organizations like congregations and some nonprofits, there is no “HR” department for employees to turn to. Polices can be “loose” and the environment so casual that the line between what’s appropriate and what’s friendly can get more blurred in comparison to larger, more hierarchical organizations.
As a nonprofit or small church, it probably took you a long time to hire your staff member. Perhaps you’re not able to offer high-end compensation and benefits, or you’re in a location that struggles to get folks interested. Regardless, recruitment can be tough! This can also make it more challenging for small organizations to take appropriate action when it comes to handling sexual harassment concerns on their teams.
Your team is small. You’re afraid to fire anyone because it’s so hard to recruit in the first place. You care about your team and you’re sure this sexual harassment issue is all just a big misunderstanding.
Keep in mind that if sexual harassment isn’t dealt with appropriately, you may still keep your team intact, but it will never be the same. Impacted folks may “quiet quit” while your action (or inaction) teaches the rest of your staff that policy doesn’t matter.
Your work culture will suffer and with it, engagement, productivity, and joy. In the worst case, you may embolden the aggressor and create a bigger problem that your small organization may not survive through. Some congregations, for example – have literally been split in half due to inappropriate behavior not properly addressed.
Don’t risk it. It’s not worth it. Be compassionate. Be fair. Follow your policy. Follow your values.
In very small organizations, one ‘bad’ apple can indeed spoil the bunch. The domino impact can be long-lasting.
Addressing sexual harassment in your congregation or small nonprofit doesn’t have to always involve termination. Use progressive discipline. Make deep listening, restoration, and healing a priority. It’s always more possible when you can be proactive.
How can you be more proactive? Consider being more proactive today by registering for Sunstone Chapel’s Inclusive Sexual Harassment training February 19th. It’s for both employees and supervisors while satisfying compliance requirements in all 50 states.
Sure, you can have your staff complete a self-paced, generic $10 course somewhere online in internet land. It’s understandable to want to “check off the box”.
When you’re ready to do more and be more, Sunstone Chapel’s inclusive training is ready for you. Put your values into action with training that lifts the wide spectrum of diversity into its scenarios and best practices.
You can advance the alleviation of hidden structural oppression in your organization by embracing this engaging training that’s deliberately multicentric and values based.
Do you part today to take care of your people so your organization can thrive.
Learn more about the training here: https://www.sunstonechapel.org/work-with-me