It's a sad fact, but sexual harassment and assault can happen anywhere, at any time, including in churches. Even sacred places might find themselves facing misconduct allegations, including sexual impropriety. Faith organizations should do everything they can to prevent such dilemmas.
Still, churches cannot completely eliminate the chance for malicious harassment and assault. So, every church should make sure that its liability insurance protects the organization from financial harm.
Insuring Yourself From Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Many church administrators establish trusting relationships within their places of worship. As these relationships develop, dishonest actors might try to take advantage of them. Should an employee or other party face allegations of sexual misconduct, the church's liability insurance might help.
Think about the situations where sexual misconduct allegations might arise. A lax office environment might place coworkers in inappropriate situations. Other employees might work with adults and children in familiar and confidential situations. Each of these situations might be prime territory for predators to operate. Should a sexual misconduct allegation arise, the resulting scandal might prove costly.
Parties who experienced the alleged abuse might sue the church. They might allege the church hired a sex offender without running a background check. True or not, this allegation could cause problems for the church. The damage might include financial loss, reputation damage and more problems.
To potentially allay the costs, churches should consider employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). This coverage can kick in during a lot of different scenarios, including situations like improper hiring and training practices. It might cover re-training costs, damage control, legal fees and more. That might prove an instrumental financial cushion.
Preventing Church Abuse Claims
Most churches recognize that, for better or worse, sexual misconduct claims might happen. Many implement standards to prevent these allegations. Common practices your church might take include:
- Establishing a workplace code of conduct. Employee handbooks should clearly state a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct.
- Implementing a vetting process. Every church employee, volunteer or contractor should have the appropriate credentials.
- Creating a workplace training plan. Church employees and congregations might benefit from learning how to avoid, spot and report suspected misconduct.
- Starting a reporting framework. Should allegations of misconduct arise, churches should have a standardized process for documenting the incident.
Furthermore, remain vigilant and respectful of the goings-on within your organization. You should never let allegations go unchecked. If you do, you might find yourself facing much more serious charges. Let your California Church Insurance Agency agent guide you through the process of selecting coverage.