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Associate Pastor Sues Church for Senior Pastor's Sexual Harassment

Employer is liable for supervisory employees' acts of harassment

Employment practices

Key point 8-12.5. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It consists of both "quid pro quo" harassment and "hostile environment" harassment. Religious organizations that are subject to Title VII are covered by this prohibition. An employer is automatically liable for supervisory employees' acts of harassment, but a defense is available to claims of hostile environment harassment if they have adopted a written harassment policy and an alleged victim fails to pursue remedies available under the policy. In some cases, an employer may be liable for acts of sexual harassment committed by nonsupervisory employees, and even nonemployees.

* A federal court in New York ruled that a church's associate pastor could sue the church as a result of the senior pastor's sexual harassment. A church employed an adult male ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • September 1, 2011

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