Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual Harassment Policy

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The Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville (UUCJ) is committed to providing a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law and will not be tolerated. This policy applies to sexual harassment regardless of gender identity. This policy applies to all paid workers, full-time and part-time. 

UUCJ is committed to a policy of zero tolerance for aggression and harassment. Thus, behaviors such as grabbing, hitting, unwelcome touching, demeaning gestures or verbalizations, and unwelcome teasing are not condoned or allowed. For the purposes of this policy, certain disallowed behaviors fall in the category of sexual harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:

  • submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment;
  • submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a factor in employment decisions affecting an individual; or
  • the conduct interferes with an individual’s employment or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or volunteer environment.

Some examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment, depending on the circumstances, include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Repeated and unwelcome suggestions regarding, or invitations to, social engagements or social events; or
  • Touching of a sexual nature or any grabbing; or
  • Repeatedly standing too close or brushing up against a person; or
  • Any indication, expressed or implied, that any aspect of working conditions depends or may depend on the granting of sexual favors or on a willingness to accept or tolerate conduct or communication of a sexual nature; or
  • Unwelcome or coerced physical proximity or physical contact which is of a sexual nature or sexually motivated; or
  • Sexual pranks, or repeated sexual teasing, jokes, or innuendo, in person or via text or email; or
  • The deliberate use of offensive or demeaning terms which have a sexual connotation; or
  • Inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature.

Any employee who believes they have been sexually harassed by another employee, a supervisor, or any other person encountered in the course of employment should report that conduct immediately to their supervisor or senior minister or designated ministerial staff. If the report or complaint involves the ministerial staff, or if ministerial staff is unavailable, the individual receiving the report or complaint should immediately report it to the President or Vice President of the congregation. Any accused worker or volunteer will be relieved of their duties until an investigation is completed.

Every complaint or report of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and will be promptly investigated. Although investigations will be conducted with sensitivity to confidentiality issues, investigative information will be communicated as appropriate to those with a need to know, and full cooperation will be given to civil authorities when applicable. If the investigation indicates that a violation of this policy may have occurred, timely and appropriate action will be taken. 

Employees who have been found to have subjected another employee to unwelcome contact of a sexual nature, whether such behavior meets the legal definition of sexual harassment or not, will be subject to discipline or other appropriate management action. Disciplinary action will be appropriate to the circumstances, ranging from a letter of reprimand through suspensions without pay for varying lengths of time to separation for cause. A verbal or written admonishment, while not considered formal discipline, may also be considered. Retaliation or reprisal against employees or church members who report sexual harassment claims is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Any violation of this policy will be treated as a serious matter and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Pre-Screening of Workers:

  • All paid workers, full-time and part-time, will provide a valid form of ID (i.e., state driver’s license, social security card, or other acceptable form of ID).
  • All paid workers, full-time and part-time, will provide at least two (2) professional/personal references upon application, to be contacted prior to any service within the church. The references will be conducted by an authority within the church.
  • All paid workers, full-time and part-time, and all volunteers working with children, will sign a release for Criminal Records check and will undergo a criminal background check prior to any employment or any activity with children.
  • All volunteers with direct relation to children must have been a member of UUCJ for a minimum of six (6) months prior to filling the position.
  • No applicant or volunteer ever convicted of a sexual related crime is eligible for service in a direct relation to children.

Added per Board approval January 7, 2020

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