1. Working Environment - The General Conference recognizes its responsibility to all employees to maintain a working environment free from harassment. It endeavors to achieve this environment through educating employees that harassment violates the law and will not be tolerated by the General Conference. The General Conference also endeavors to prevent harassment by publishing this policy, by developing appropriate sanctions for misconduct, and by informing all employees of t heir right to complain of harassment.
To maintain a work environment free of harassment and assist in preventing inappropriate workplace conduct, the General Conference shall endeavor to take the following actions:
a. Each employee shall receive a copy of this harassment policy and complaint procedure;
b. Each employee shall acknowledge receipt of this policy and complaint procedure, which will be maintained in the employee's personnel file;
c. The General Conference has designated the HR Director and Associate HR Directors as the persons to whom complaints of harassment can be made, in addition to an employee's department director.
2. Personal Conduct - Employees of the General Conference are to exemplify the Christ-like life and should avoid all appearance s of wrong doing. They should not engage in behavior that is harmful to themselves or others or that casts a shadow on their dedication to the Christian way of life. Employees should respect and uplift one another. Employees should never be placed in a position of embarrassment, disrespected or harassed because of their gender, race, color, national origin, age or disability. To do so would be a violation of God's law and civil laws protecting human rights and governing work place conduct.
3. Sexual Harassment - Sexual harassment is a form of harassment and involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
a. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; or
b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an individual; or
c. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
4. Improper Conduct - Improper conduct by the employer, co-workers and, in some instances, non-employees includes, but is not limited to:
a. Any subtle or other pressure or request for sexual favors or activity, including any suggestion that an applicant's or employee's giving in to or rejecting sexual advances will have an effect on that person's employment or terms of employment;
b. Unwelcome sexual flirtation or propositions;
c. Unnecessary or inappropriate touching of a sexual or abusive nature (e.g., patting, pinching, hugging, repeated brushing against another person's body, et c.);
d. Displays of sexually suggestive pictures, drawings, cartoons or objects;
e. Threats or demands for sexual favors;
f. Unwelcome or derogatory statements related to gender, race, color, national origin, age or disability (for example, kidding, teasing, jokes degrading or offensive comments or tricks);
g. Demeaning or degrading comments about an individual's appearance;
h. Denying an employee the opportunity to participate in training or education on account of gender, race, color, national origin, age or disability;
i. Limiting opportunities for promotion, transfer or advancement on account of gender, race, color, national origin, age or disability; or
j. Requiring a protected employee to perform more difficult tasks or less desirable work assignments in order to force them to retire or resign from employment.
5. Reporting Incidents - Employees who believe that they have been harassed should immediately take the following steps:
a. Make it clear that such conduct is offensive and should be stopped immediately; and
b. Report the incident to the immediate department director or to the director or associate directors of HR. The initial report should be followed by a written statement describing the incident and identifying potential witnesses.
6. Third-Party Reports - Employees who are aware of incidents of potential workplace harassment toward others are to report such incidents to their department director or the director or associate directors of HR for investigation.
7. Investigation - Complaints of harassment shall be promptly handled and maintained in confidence to the extent possible.
8. Discipline - A violation of this policy may result in discipline, up to and including dismissal from employment.
9. Prohibition of Retaliation - The General Conference prohibits retaliation against employees complaining of harassment.
This document was adopted by the General Conference Human Resource Services on March 20, 2000, and reflects the legal context of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.