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Passing on the Pastor: Sexual Abuse and Public Statements About Ministerial Qualifications

passing the pastorIf a religious organization believes that a minister or other employee has engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, what responsibility does it have to notify others? How does child sexual abuse change the rules for normal termination procedure? Those who become victims of that person insist it is the organization’s duty to share that information. Employees who have been terminated for such behavior say sharing such information is a breach of confidence amounting to defamation. 

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Employee Discipline and Termination - Part 3: Problem People

Insightful comments, Theresa, however, I am going to push the envelope here a bit. Your approach above would work if there is nothing the person has done which is illegal or unethical, or reputation damaging but what if, as a leader, I come across illegal or unethical behavior, and that person just needs to go? 

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Response: When You Can Require Counseling for Workers

get help!Brent, this used to be less of a problem, but recent case law suggests that requiring counseling now may be the equivalent of requiring a medical examination. This means there can be implications under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requiring counseling would then have to be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” 

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Part 4: Complaints, Protection, Confidentiality and Trust

trusting leadersI can see where if you deal with complaints in a regular process, and document them, it makes for good protection. Two comments, though, one about confidentiality, and one about trust. In a perfect world, people see leadership as benevolent, compassionate, trustworthy (don’t laugh! I am going somewhere with this!). However, the reality is that we each project our own ... 

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Part 3: Some Points About Your Policies - Protecting and Reporting

whistle blower policiesLet’s talk about policies—the types of policies you should have and how people can report without either personnel or the company running into problems with retaliation. Your conduct and discipline policies should also prohibit retaliation, and a separate whistle-blower policy is a good idea. An important piece in avoiding sticky situations is to have a complaint or grievance procedure. 

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Part 2: How Whistle-blowing is Protected and Why You Want it Anyway

Hi Brent, Back in law school, sometimes the prof would weave the entire semester’s legal principles into one diabolical hypothetical, and the single exam question would be your entire grade for the course. The general answer is that Mission Leader in your hypothetical is in big trouble, and the mission is probably now facing a lawsuit. 

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