CCOA Policy on Harassment



The Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch, (hereinafter, the Church). is committed to creating and maintaining a worshiping 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 harassment. The Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch will not harassment in any of its ministries and will make every reasonable effort to prevent and eliminate conduct which falls within the scope of this policy.


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.



Harassment is unwanted, unreasonable and offensive Behavior towards the person being harassed, which creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating work environment for the person concerned.

There are different types of harassment that can occur. Harassment can be based on:

• Race, ethnic origin, nationality or skin color
• Gender identity and/or sexual orientation
• Religious or political convictions
• Membership or no-membership of a trade union
• Disabilities, illness, sensory impairments or learning difficulties
• Age
• Pregnancy/maternity/paternity

This list is not exhaustive.

Harassment is:
• Offending or humiliating someone physically or verbally;
• Threatening or intimidating someone;
• Making unwelcome jokes or comments about someone’s race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or pardoned conviction.

Harassment can occur between people of the same sex or opposite sex.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment has been defined as unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that:

• Is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment;
• Issued as a basis for employment decisions affecting such an individual;
• Has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance and of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

The Church prohibits inappropriate conduct that is sexual in nature at all Church related events, including the following:

• Offensive or humiliating behavior that is related to a person’s sex;
• Behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwelcome, hostile or offensive work environment;
• Behavior of a sexual nature that could reasonably be thought to put sexual conditions on a person’s job or employment opportunities.
• Comments, jokes, or degrading language;
• Sexually suggestive objects, books, magazines, photography, cartoons, pictures, calendars, posters, electronic communications, or other materials;
• Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any sexual touching;
• Offering favorable terms or conditions of employment or benefits in exchange for sexual favors or threatening or imposing less-favorable terms or conditions of employment if sexual favors are refused.

Sexual harassment is prohibited whether it’s between members of the opposite sex or members of the same sex.


A person who is harassed 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.


All ministry leaders have a responsibility to maintain a ministry that is free of personal harassment. 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 harassment-free ministry and setting an example of appropriate behavior;
• Communicating the process for investigating and resolving harassment complaints;
• Dealing with harassment situations immediately after becoming aware of them, whether or not a harassment complaint has been made;
• Taking appropriate action during a harassment investigation, including the separation of the parties to the harassment complaint, if necessary; and
• Ensuring that harassment 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 harassment;
• Collaborating in a harassment investigation 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 reported harassment will be dealt with in a timely, confidential and effective manner;
• To have their rights to a fair process and to confidentiality respected during a harassment investigation; and
• To be protected against retaliation for reporting harassment or cooperating with a harassment investigation.


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

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

b) If the behavior persists, keep records of incidents of behavior which you consider to be harassment, 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.

c) 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.

d) Make your harassment 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.

e) A ministry leader handling the complaint of harassment 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.

f) 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.

g) If the leader concludes that harassment 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 harassment, unless there are circumstances that prevented the individual from doing so.


Any claims of harassment will be investigated promptly and discreetly. All complaints are treated with sensitivity and are kept confidential as possible. 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 make your report to the Presiding Bishop. If your complaint concerns the Presiding Bishop, you can make your report to any bishop of the Church, active and in good standing, who will have the responsibility to investigate the complaint.

However, if someone in any of the Church’s ministries, in the course of worship or in a ministry sponsored activity 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.

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.


Accessibility Statement

We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and  Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.To fulfill this promise, we are in the process of reviewing our site to adhere as closely as possible to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines explain how to make web content more accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us provide a site that is accessible to all our site visitors.This website utilizes various technologies that are incorporated to make it more accessible.What Are We Presently Doing to Make our Website More Usable for People With Disabilities?   Our efforts are ongoing as ADA standards and guidelines may change, or we may find additional compliance items that need to be edited on our website.Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, and/or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible.

Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch

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