When the offender is a clergy person, certified lay minister, or employee of the church

Personal Conduct Policy

Any ministerial or managerial employee who receives a complaint of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct, or who otherwise becomes aware of or suspects a violation of this Personal Conduct Policy should immediately report the violation to the District Superintendent. Reporting of sexual abuse or physical abuse of children, youth, or adults from vulnerable populations shall also be made as required by the Safe Gatherings Policy.

If a complaint regarding sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct is made, an investigation will be conducted as promptly as possible. The investigation of the complaint involving a non-ministerial employee of a local church will be conducted by Pastor or the Staff Parish Relations Committee and will be completed within thirty (30) days from the submission of the complaint, provided there are no extenuating circumstances. If the complaint involves a ministerial employee, the matter will be referred to the appropriate supervising clergy for investigation and appropriate action under The 2016 Book of Discipline. If the complaint involves a lay employee of the Annual Conference, the investigation will be conducted by the Personnel Team.

If the complaint involves a violation of the Computer Usage Policy, report the alleged violation to the Chairperson of the Pastor/Staff Parish Relations Committee of the local church (or the Personnel Team Chair, in the case of an annual conference employee) immediately.

If an individual is found to have violated the Personal Conduct Policy, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including termination of employment, removal from volunteer service, or termination of membership. All actions taken in connection with a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will comply with any applicable law or procedure under The 2016 Book of Discipline.

The Conference will not retaliate against an employee who in good faith files a complaint alleging a violation of this Personal Conduct Policy, nor will the Conference retaliate against an individual for cooperating in good faith in an investigation of harassment.

Clergy misconduct is subject to the procedures contained in The 2016 Book of Discipline, and any complaint against clergy must follow the applicable provisions contained therein. Clergy, and those who have a grievance against clergy, whether or not the complainant or the violator is lay or clergy, are encouraged to address any concerns directly with the other person as a means of resolving the issues. If the issues are between two clergy, and the two cannot resolve the issues among themselves, the one claiming a violation is encouraged to seek the assistance of her/his Superintendent as a means of resolving the issues. If the clergy person’s complaint involves her/his Superintendent, or if either is a Superintendent, the complainant is encouraged to invoke the guidance of a member of the Conference staff, another Superintendent, or the Bishop to assist in resolving the grievance prior to filing a formal complaint.