CCOA Policy on Bullying

CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF ANTIOCH

ANTI-BULLYING POLICY

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  1. OVERVIEW

 

The Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch, (hereinafter, the Church). is committed to creating and maintaining a worshipping environment which fosters mutual respect, integrity and professional conduct. In keeping with this commitment, the Church has established this policy and a set of reporting/investigation procedures for all clergy, seminarians, volunteers, and employees relating to the issue of ministry-related bullying. The Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch will not tolerate bullying in any of its ministries and will make every reasonable effort to prevent and eliminate conduct which falls within the scope of this policy.

 

  1. SCOPE

 

All clergy, seminarians, volunteers, employees, directors, officers, and guests of the Church and the Church’s ministries are covered by this policy. This policy applies to all activities which take place on the premises of the Church or its ministries (including interpersonal and electronic communications) or which are directly related to the Church’s ministries and during any ministry-related task or activity, including conferences, training sessions, travel and social functions.

 

  1. BULLYING DEFINITION

 

Bullying is characterized by aggressive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behavior or abusive behavior or abuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or hurt the person to whom it is directed.

 

Bullying does not always result from supervisor/subordinate relationships or vice versa; unacceptable peer pressure can also constitute bullying.

 

Examples of conduct or comments which might constitute bullying include:

 

  • Demonstrations of rage against a colleague in public and/or private
  • Personal insults and name calling
  • Shouting, yelling
  • Targeting an individual through persistent, unwarranted criticism
  • Verbal, written or physical threats and intimidation
  • Unfair criticism and persistent public humiliation
  • Setting deadlines that cannot be met
  • Removing areas of responsibility and impose subordinate tasks instead
  • Ignoring or excluding a person, or speak only to a third party to isolate another person
  • Vandalizing personal belongings
  • Spreading malicious rumours, gossip or negative innuendo
  • Insulting someone or derogatory remarks, gestures or actions
  • Copying critical memos about someone to others who do not need to know
  • Ridiculing or belittling someone
  • Exclusion
  • Victimization
  • Unfair treatment
  • Overbearing surveillance
  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Touching or standing too close
  • Postings of offensive material
  • Making threats or comments about job security without foundation
  • Deliberately undermine a competent worker by constantly neglecting and criticizing him/her
  • Preventing people from progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.

 

Bullying can take other forms. For example, what may emerge as a concern initially categorised as ‘harassment’, ‘intimidation’ or ‘aggressive management’ may, upon investigation, be considered to be a case of bullying.

 

Bullying would not include:

 

  • Normal exercise of supervisory responsibilities, including performance reviews, direction, counseling and disciplinary action where necessary, provided they are conducted in a respectful, professional manner, in accordance with the Church’s canons, policies and procedures;

 

  • Social interactions, jokes and bantering, which are mutually acceptable, provided the interactions are respectful and there is no negative impact for others in the ministry environment; and

 

  • Disagreements, misunderstandings, miscommunication and/or conflict situations, provided the behavior of the individuals involved remains professional and respectful.

 

  1. CONSEQUENCES OF BULLYING

 

A person who is bullied may suffer from physical and/or emotional symptoms, such as sleep disorders, nausea, sweating, tremors, depression, and loss of confidence and motivation.

 

In addition, they may suffer other consequences, such as the loss of training and development opportunities, and missed promotion opportunities.

 

  1. RIGHTS, ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Each and every clergyperson, seminarian, volunteer, and employee of The Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch is expected to support the implementation of this policy by:

 

  • Behaving in a manner that reflects professional conduct, mutual respect for others and respect for diversity in the ministry environment;

 

  • Not intimidating or bullying others;

 

  • Participating fully and in good faith in any resolution process or formal complaint and investigation process when it has been determined that they are able to provide relevant information;

 

  • Reporting any ministry related bullying or they experience or observe that may contravene this policy; and

 

  • Respecting the rights to personal dignity, privacy and confidentiality relating to this policy.

 

  1. LEADERSHIP AND INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY

 

All ministry leaders have a responsibility to maintain a ministry that is free of bullying. Leaders are directly responsible for the conduct of their staff and the smooth running of their ministry.

 

Also, the Church expects all individuals associated with any Church ministry to comply with this policy and to conduct themselves appropriately.

 

Ministry leaders are responsible for:

 

  • Promoting a ministry that is free of bullying and setting an example of appropriate behavior;
  • Communicating the process for investigating and resolving complaints of bullying;
  • Dealing with bullying situations immediately after becoming aware of them, whether or not a complaint of bullying has been made;
  • Taking appropriate action during investigations into complaints of bullying, including the separation of the parties to the complaint, if necessary; and
  • Ensuring that bullying situations are handled in a sensitive and confidential manner.

 

All those associated with the ministry in any way whatsoever are responsible for:

 

  • Treating others with respect;
  • Informing the ministry leader or the Presiding Bishop of any bullying;
  • Collaborating in any investigation into a complaint of bullying and respecting the confidentiality of the investigation process;

 

All those associated with the ministry in any way whatsoever can expect:

 

  • To be treated with respect;
  • That reports of bullying will be dealt with in a timely, confidential and effective manner;
  • To have their rights to a fair process and to confidentiality respected during an investigation into a complaint of bullying; and
  • To be protected against retaliation for reporting bullying or cooperating with an investigation into a complaint of bullying.

 

  1. PROCEDURE

 

If you observe or believe you are being bullied in the course of the Church’s ministry or any other activity sponsored by the Church, here are the first things you can do:

 

  1. Everyone is encouraged to make it clear to the person who is bullying them that their behavior is undesirable and that it must be stopped.

 

  1. If the behavior persists, keep records of incidents of behavior which you consider to be bullying, noting the date and time of the incident and details of any witnesses. Such records can be helpful in describing the problem and may also be used if any formal action is subsequently taken.

 

  1. Should the behavior continue, the individual should approach their ministry leader or if that person is the one causing the concerns, the Presiding Bishop of the Church.

 

  1. Make your bullying complaint by contacting your ministry leader or the Presiding Bishop. The complaint may be verbal or in writing. If the complaint is made verbally, the ministry leader or the Presiding Bishop will record the details provided by the individual.

 

  1. A ministry leader handling the complaint of bullying is likely, in the first instance, to discuss the complaint informally with the alleged offender. This should take place without delay after the complaint has been made. If the matter is not resolved informally, the leader will initiate an investigation.

 

  1. Following an investigation, the decision of the leader will be confirmed in writing to the complainant and the person against whom the allegation has been made.

 

  1. If the leader concludes that bullying has taken place, the leader will discuss the findings with the Presiding Bishop. The ministry leader and the Presiding Bishop will determine any disciplinary or corrective actions to be taken and who will be responsible for implementing them.

 

Complaints should be made as soon as possible but no later than within one year of the last incident of perceived bullying, unless there are circumstances that prevented the individual from doing so.

 

  1. HOW COMPLAINTS WILL BE DEALT WITH

 

Any claims of bullying will be investigated promptly and discreetly. All complaints are treated with sensitivity and are kept confidential as possible. If you witness a bullying situation and make a complaint about it, we will never disclose who made a complaint to anyone or give out information that may help others identify that person. An appropriate disciplinary action will be taken to eliminate inappropriate behavior.

 

In addition, you are not required to report your complaint to the person who is the subject of the complaint. For example, if your complaint concerns your ministry leader, you can report your complaint to the Presiding Bishop. If the subject of your complaint is the Presiding Bishop, you may report your complaint to a Bishop of the Church, active and in good standing. The Bishop to whom you report your claim is responsible for investigating the complaint.

 

However, if someone in the course of the ministry’s worship or the course of any other ministry-sponsored function engages in conduct that makes you feel uncomfortable, we encourage you to tell them that the conduct is unwelcome, that you find it offensive, and that you ask that it stop immediately.

 

Ministry leaders or the Presiding Bishop will promptly investigate complaints. You must cooperate fully in such investigations. If warranted, the Church will take appropriate corrective action, up to and including release from the Church or Sophia Divinity School, or termination of employment or volunteer status.

 

The Church will not tolerate intimidation, victimization, retaliation or discrimination against an individual for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation, whether or not the complaint is upheld. Where such action is alleged, the matter will be dealt with in the same way as an allegation of harassment or bullying.

 

If you believe you have been subject to reprisal, you can use any of the resources described above to report your concern.

 

  1. DISCIPLINARY MEASURES FOR BULLYING

Whether or not an actual law has been violated, any clergyperson engaging in behavior that violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, the revocation of the person’s charter, laicization or excommunication as deemed appropriate by the Presiding Bishop. Any seminarian that violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including possible removal from the seminary program. The Church will sever its relationship with any organization doing business with or providing any service to the Church if it violates this policy unless legally obligated to the offending agency by a binding contract. If legally obligated to the offending agency, the Church will not renew any contracts with the agency once the current contract expires.