WTI Personnel Policy

Personnel Policy:
WTI Advisor, WTI Staff and WTI Volunteer Policy and Procedures Manual

Contents

SECTION 1 -Definition of "Staff" and "Advisors"
SECTION 2 - Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct and Ethical Behavior for Advisors and Staff Members
SECTION 3 - Responsibilities to Participants
SECTION 4 - Recommendations
SECTION 5 - Discrimination
SECTION 6 - Access to training
SECTION 7 - Responsibilities as Scholars/Teachers and Staff Members
SECTION 8 - Responsibilities to Colleagues
SECTION 9 - Sexual Harassment and Sexual Behavior
9.1 - Advisor or Staff-Participant Relationships
9.2 - Sexual Harassment
SECTION 10 - Problem Resolution Process
10.1 - Procedures for Reporting Behavior Which May Constitute Sexual Harassment
10.2 Procedures
SECTION 11 - Guidelines for Peers
SECTION 12 - Conflict of interest
SECTION 13 - WTI Equipment
SECTION 14 - Web and Email Resources
14. 1 - Monitoring Electronic Communication
SECTION 15 - Fraud and Corrupt Conduct
15.1 - Reporting
15.2 - Investigation
15.3 - Possible Outcomes
SECTION 16 - Breaches of Policies and Procedures Contained in this document

SECTION 1 -Definition of "Staff" and "Advisors"

For purposes of this document:

  • "staff" shall refer to any person who works at the RCG-I Mother House, or who is assigned responsibility by the Consistery Executive in any position, paid, unpaid or as a volunteer.
  • "Advisor" shall refer to any person with duties as an Advisor whether they are a Convening or Assistant Advisor.

SECTION 2 - Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct and Ethical Behavior for Advisors and Staff Members

All WTI Advisors and staff members are expected to follow acceptable principles in matters of WTI and personal conduct. As WTI representatives they accept responsibility for the appropriateness of their own conduct, and are expected to exhibit a high degree of personal and professional integrity at all times. It is impossible to list all forms of conduct that might be considered inappropriate.

Advisors and WTI staff members are in positions of trust. They should, therefore, avoid conflicts of interest that is, a conflict between a personal relationship and WTI responsibilities and accept the constraints and obligations inherent in that responsibility.

Certain behaviors (such as theft, fighting, threats of violence, violation of the alcohol and drug policy, falsification of records) are clearly unacceptable at any time. Other forms of conduct (such as failure to cooperate with other Advisors, harassing or intimidating others, or rudeness), while often more subtle are also unacceptable.

WTI expects all Advisors and all staff members to adhere to the following general principles:

  • Observe the highest standard of spiritual values at all times.
  • Perform responsibilities in a manner consistent with RCG-I values and ethical standards as outlined in the Affirmation of Womenís Spirituality and the Consecration Affirmation.
  • Comply with all policies and regulations applicable to WTI and to any applicable state or federal laws which govern behavior.
  • Treat others, including participants, staff members, and other Advisors with dignity and respect.
  • Be certain that their behavior toward all WTI participants is nondiscriminatory and non-harassing.
  • Perform responsibilities in a satisfactory manner.

Unsatisfactory performance, overall attitude, conduct or demeanor; violation of WTI policies, procedures, or guidelines; or any other behavior or conduct deemed inappropriate by WTI may lead to the convening of a Concordance and/or, being removed from positions of authority within WTI.

WTI Advisors, staff members and all others serving in any other capacity are strictly prohibited from unauthorized access, entry, alteration, tampering, falsification, copying, or distribution of records. Violations shall include but not be limited to alteration of any records related to the enrollment or performance of participants, or assisting, attempting to assist, or conspiring to assist an Advisor, staff member or participant in committing the offenses outlined above. Any individual in violation of this policy will be removed from positions of authority, as well as face the potential of a Concordance.

SECTION 3 - Responsibilities to Participants

As teachers, scholars, counselors, mentors, and friends, WTI Advisors and staff members can profoundly influence participants' attitudes concerning competence, integrity, and responsibility. All individuals associated with WTI should assist participants in realizing their desire to advance in knowledge and spiritual practice. Because of their inevitable function as role models, WTI Advisors and staff members should be guided by the most sensitive ethical and professional standards.

WTI Advisors and staff members should aspire to excellence in teaching and administration and to mastery of their subjects and responsibilities. They should prepare conscientiously for advising weekends and employ methods appropriate for the objectives of their work. Training should meet as scheduled; or when impossible trainings should be rescheduled at a time reasonably convenient for participants.

WTI Advisors and staff members have an obligation to treat participants with civility and respect, and to foster a stimulating and productive learning environment in which the pros and cons of issues are fairly acknowledged. WTI Advisors and staff members should nurture and protect intellectual freedom for their participants and colleagues.

Evaluation of participant work is one of the fundamental duties of WTI Advisors. Documentation should be evaluated with impartiality, in a timely manner, and reviews should be consistent with recognized WTI standards. Participants who request it should be given an explanation of their documentation review.

WTI Advisors should be reasonably available to counsel participants about spiritual matters, career choices, or personal concerns. In performing this function, WTI Advisors should make every reasonable effort to assure that the information they convey is timely and accurate. When in the course of counseling, an Advisor receives information that the participant may reasonably expect to be confidential, the Advisor should not disclose that information, unless required to do so by a WTI policy or legal disclosure requirements. Advisors should inform participants concerning the possibility of such disclosure.

Unless a RCG-I or WTI staff member has an auxiliary support function (i.e. Advisor, Assistant Advisor) in regards to a participant, a staff member should not engage in counseling about spiritual matters, career choices, personal concerns or programmatic activities in her role as a staff member. If in the course of her duties, a staff member receives information that the participant may reasonably expect to be confidential (e.g.: financial information), the staff member should not disclose the information.

SECTION 4 - Recommendations

WTI Advisors and staff members should be as fair and complete as possible when writing recommendations for participants, and should not permit irrelevant considerations to become part of recommendations. If information disclosed in confidence by a participant to a WTI Advisor or staff member makes it impossible for them to write fair and complete recommendations without revealing the information, WTI Advisors and staff members should so inform the participant, and refuse to provide the recommendation unless the participant consents to full disclosure.

SECTION 5 - Discrimination

Discrimination means direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of one or more of the following: age; race, color, national origin, physical impairment; sexual orientation; marital status; physical features; political beliefs and activity; pregnancy and breastfeeding; status as parent or career; or personal association with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above. WTI Advisors and staff members should seek to make WTI a welcoming community for all participants, and should be sensitive to the harmful consequences of their own or participant conduct or comments in training or elsewhere that perpetuate stereotypes or prejudices involving such factors.

Section 6 - Access to Training

In its responsibility for training, WTI aims to:

  • Take positive steps to provide support for members of disadvantaged groups admitted to WTI,
  • Maintain and develop programs to accommodate disadvantaged or disabled participants, adjusting where necessary the learning environment or procedures,
  • Assure that WTI courses develop an awareness and acceptance of the principles of equality in order to encourage graduates and members of WTI to eliminate inequality,
  • Assure that WTI materials avoid discriminatory language.

SECTION 7 - Responsibilities as Scholars/Teachers and Staff Members

A basic responsibility of WTI is to assist participants in spiritual and educational development. WTI Advisors and staff members have a responsibility to be informed concerning relevant scholarship of others in the fields in which they write, teach, work, and/or administer. To keep current in any field requires continuing study. Although WTI Advisors and staff members should feel free to critique each otherís work, distortion or misrepresentation is always unacceptable. When another's scholarship is used -- whether that of another Advisor or that of a participant -- it should be openly acknowledged.

Advisors and Staff members are expected to:

  • Perform duties with skill, care and diligence, using authority fairly;
  • Perform their duties professionally, and not physically assault or threaten or malign another WTI colleague, or behave in such a way that brings WTI into disrepute;
  • Observe relevant WTI policies and procedures;
  • Treat participants, colleagues and members of the public with courtesy, and with respect for their rights, duties and aspirations.

SECTION 8 - Responsibilities to Colleagues

WTI Advisors and staff members will treat colleagues with civility and respect. WTI staff members will comply with agreements or policies requiring confidentiality concerning oral or written communications. Such agreements or policies frequently will exist with respect to priestessing matters and evaluations of participant performance. If there is doubt whether such an agreement or policy is in effect, a WTI Advisor or staff member should seek clarification.

An evaluation made of any colleague should be based exclusively upon appropriate performance criteria in accordance with WTI standards.

SECTION 9 - Sexual Harassment and Sexual Behavior

9.1 Advisor or Staff-Participant Relationships

To have a close personal relationship with a participant to whom one has responsibilities may involve serious difficulties arising from the power disparity inherent in the Advising/staff-participant relationship. Some relationships may disrupt the teaching and learning environment for other participants and colleagues.

9.2 - Sexual Harassment

WTI Advisors and staff members shall not sexually harass participants; and shall not use their role or position to induce a participant to enter into a sexual relationship, or to subject a participant to a hostile environment based on any form of sexual harassment. An initial sexual approach by an ordained member of the RCG-I Clergy to a participant, or engaging in a sexual relationship with a participant, may constitute sexual harassment and can be the subject of complaint under WTI 's Sexual Harassment Procedures.

WTI defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's success in WTI; or
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting such individuals; or
  • the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or sexually offensive environment.

Harassment may exist:

  • if it is directed against a person of the same sex as the harasser;
  • between participants, staff members, volunteers or Advisors of WTI.
  • between any of the above or women in the WTI enrollment process.

Not all behaviors which are inappropriate are sexual harassment. Participants, Advisors or staff members needing assistance in clarifying such issues can approach the WTI Advisory Council for assistance.

In a situation where a staff member is or has been involved in a sexual or other close personal relationship or is a family member of the participant, the staff member has a potential conflict of interest between the personal relationship and her professional responsibilities. Sexual relationships between WTI Advisors or staff members and a participant with whom there is no preexisting relationship are inappropriate whenever a WTI Advisor or staff member has or will have a professional responsibility or engage in decision-making regarding the participant in such matters as evaluating, supervising, counseling or providing administrative functions for a participant as part of WTI.

Even when a WTI Advisor or staff member has no professional responsibility for a participant, WTI Advisors and staff members should be sensitive to the perceptions of other participants that a participant who has a sexual relationship with a representative of WTI may receive preferential treatment.

A WTI Advisor or staff member who is closely related to a participant by blood or who has a preexisting relationship with a participant, declare this relationship to the WTI Advisory Council.

SECTION 10 - Problem Resolution Process

Most problems experienced by participants can be resolved informally and fairly at the level at which they arise. Participants are encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of their Convening Advisor, who can work with the participant to expeditiously resolve the matter to the mutual satisfaction of those involved in a manner consistent with WTI policies and practices.

The participant may choose to bypass the Convening Advisor and pursue the matter directly with the WTI Advisory Council. Requests to the WTI Advisory Council shall be in writing, providing a summary of the problem, the efforts (if any) made to resolve the problem, and the ultimate result of those efforts. The WTI Advisory Council or a designee will investigate both sides of the dispute and obtain such other information as is felt necessary to reach a resolution in a manner consistent with WTI policies and practices that is acceptable to both parties. Participants can report instances of sexual harassment without fear of retaliation

ï10.1 Procedures for Reporting Behavior Which May Constitute Sexual Harassment

If Advisors or staff members know of harassment taking place, they should inform the WTI Advisory Council. Advisors and staff members should be familiar with WTI's policy on sexual harassment. Advisors and staff members can seek the assistance of the WTI Advisory Council in determining the best course for WTI to take in response to sexual harassment matters.

10.2 Procedure

Participants who feel they have been sexually harassed should feel free to discuss the matter with their Convening Advisor, if the Convening Advisor is not the person involved. Participants need not first discuss the matter with their Convening Advisor, but may go directly to the WTI Advisory Council.

Absent extenuating circumstances, a participant must notify either their Advisor, or the WTI Advisory Council of their claims regarding sexual harassment as soon as possible but within 30 days of the incident(s). Delay in reporting incident(s) may affect WTI's ability to thoroughly address the reported incident(s).

Review and resolution of some concerns or complaints of sexual harassment may be done on an informal basis and may not require the filing of a written complaint, but all concerns or complaints will be reviewed thoroughly and impartially and reasonable steps will be taken to remedy any harassment which has been identified.

If the complaint is investigated and resolved by the Advisor, a written summary of the facts of the alleged harassment, the investigatory measures and the resolution must be provided to the WTI Advisory Council within 30 days of resolution.

If the WTI Advisory Council is the initial recipient of the complaint, the participant will provide a written statement to the WTI Advisory Council detailing a summary of the problem, the efforts (if any) made to resolve the problem, and the ultimate result of those efforts.

To the extent possible, WTI will protect the confidentiality of a woman complaining of sexual harassment. Information will be provided only on a "need to know" basis. If an individual requests to remain anonymous, WTI's ability to conduct a full investigation of the situation and the range of remedies available may be limited.

If a complaint of sexual harassment contains very serious allegations, such as unwelcome physical contact or, in the opinion of the Advisor or the WTI Advisory Council, the behavior if true, may pose a threat to others, the WTI Advisory Council will conduct an investigation and take appropriate actions, even if the person making the initial complaint does not want the WTI Advisory Council to proceed.

In general, the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment will be completed within 30 days. The individual making the complaint will be informed of any delay and the reason for such delay, such as the unavailability of witnesses.

WTI regards any behavior that is sexually harassing as a violation of the standards of conduct required of all persons associated with RCG-I. Upon finding that an Advisor or staff member has harassed any member of the RCG-I community, WTI will take immediate and appropriate corrective action, which may include removal from positions of authority.

If, after investigation, an Advisorís or staff memberís behavior is found to be sexual harassment, regardless of the participantís response to such harassment, WTI will take prompt and immediate action to end any such behavior which may including convening a Concordance and/or removal from positions of authority.

Section 11 - Guidelines for Peers:

WTI expects participants to comply with the general tenets of conduct applicable to all RCG-I members. These tenets are outlined in The Affirmation of Womenís Spirituality and The Consecration Affirmation.

Unwelcome written, verbal and/or physical actions between peers violates RCG-Iís standards of conduct. Participants who are found to be responsible for such actions may cause the activation of a concordance that may result in termination of their administrative rights and/or removal from WTI.

Section 12 - Conflict of interest

Advisors and staff members should aim to avoid being placed in a situation where there may be a conflict between the interests of WTI and their own personal interests. Should that situation arise, the matter should be disclosed to the WTI Advisory Council.

WTI expects Advisors and staff members not to place themselves in a position where it could be construed that they have used WTI assets, including WTI's web/online resources or confidential WTI information, for personal gain or a benefit to themselves, their family or friends. If such situations arise, it should be disclosed to the WTI Advisory Council.

Advisors and staff members are occasionally offered favors or gifts. Advisors and staff members should exercise caution before accepting such favors or gifts, personally or from anyone who could benefit or be perceived to be benefiting by influencing them. Except in the case of token gifts which could not reasonably be taken to constitute an inducement, no staff member should invite, discuss or accept a favor or gift in any form from, or on behalf of, a currently enrolled participant unless:

  • the gift is a token gift of appreciation which could not reasonably be taken to constitute an inducement. Gifts of appreciation shall be declared to the Advisory Council or,
  • a favor or gift were offered as a contribution to WTI or RCG-I and given directly to the Development Director.

If a staff member is uncertain about whether to accept a favor or gift, she should discuss the matter with the WTI Advisory Council.

No documents, materials, or forms relating to WTI operations or any other WTI intellectual property may be used without the express approval of the Consistery Executive. Items covered by this policy include participant files, curriculums, forms, records or any other pertinent items. You may not use, divert or appropriate WTI services, forms or assets for your personal use or benefit or for the benefit of another organization. The improper and unauthorized use of any of these items will be treated as theft.

SECTION 13 - WTI Equipment

WTI equipment, WTI's web and online resources, are for official use by Advisors and staff members. Other use of equipment or resources, or its use by persons who are not staff of WTI, should be within policy guidelines and with the approval of the Consistery Executive.

SECTION 14 - Web and Email Resources

This policy applies to all WTI users including, but not limited to staff members, Advisors, temporary staff and volunteers of WTI. WTI web and email resources may not be used:

  • to obtain unauthorized access to systems and data;
  • to send electronic mail which is illegal,
  • for commercial purposes
  • to store, transmit or display material which is pornographic, obscene, offensive, slanderous or illegal;
  • for personal gain (unless approved by the Consistery Executive).

WTI Advisors and Staff members are granted access to WTI's electronic communication systems on the condition that these facilities are used for legitimate work or study purposes related to genuine enterprises of WTI, or for valid personal use.

Use of WTI's electronic communication systems must fall within the boundaries of normal appropriate practice. (The term 'use' includes storage, transmission, downloading or display of material). Actions which are not within the boundaries of normal appropriate practice include, but are not limited to:

  • Use that contravenes any state or federal law, including but not limited to Sexual Harassment legislation;
  • Communication activities which defame an individual, or organization;
  • Stating personal views without clearly identifying them as personal views, and not those of WTI;
  • Communications that are obscene, offensive or involve the use of illegal material;
  • Use that contravenes a WTI policy, or procedure;
  • Use that directly or indirectly interferes with or conflicts with lawful WTI business;
  • Communication activities which are intended to bring WTI or its officers into disrepute;
  • Any attempt to circumvent the user authentication or security of any account;
  • Use of electronic communications for sending "junk mail", for profit messages, explicit political endorsements or chain letters;
  • Use to run a private business whether for profit or not-for-profit;
  • Use to publish a journal or magazine (or any other publication) which is not authorized by WTI or associated with WTI; and
  • Participation in on-line conferences, chat rooms, discussion groups or other like services for purposes other than legitimate WTI business.

Electronic communications can create legally binding commitments. Therefore, electronic communication users are not permitted to authorize transactions or agreements except as authorized by the Consistery Executive.

Any Advisor or staff member found to be using another person's account details or reading another person's E-mail without express consent, or authorization from the Consistery Executive may cause the convening of a concordance, removal from positions of authority within WTI and/or legal proceedings.

Electronic communications must not be used in any manner contrary to the law or likely to contravene the law. Offenders may be referred to the police or other relevant authority and they may be removed from positions of authority within WTI.

14.1 Monitoring Electronic Communication

WTI has the right to access electronic communications created, sent or received by Advisors, staff members or volunteers using WTI email or web systems. It is not WTI policy to regularly monitor electronic communications, but it reserves the right to monitor use without notice.

Section 15 - Fraud and Corrupt Conduct

Fraud includes theft, criminal deception, making false representations to gain an unjust advantage, and abuse of WTI property or time. Theft is the dishonest appropriation of WTI's property with intent to deprive WTI of it permanently.

Corrupt conduct includes improper use of influence or position and/or improper use of information or other improper acts or omissions of a similar nature.

Examples of some activities covered under these definitions are:

  • taking inducements, including donations to mark a participant's assessment more favorably;
  • misuse of one's position to gain an unfair or unjust advantage;
  • misuse or abuse of telephone, fax, computers, and other equipment to run a private business or advance another organization, or program whether for profit or not-for-profit;
  • operation of a private business using WTI facilities and time;
  • unauthorized removal of equipment, parts, software, and office supplies from WTI premises;
  • submission of fraudulent applications for reimbursement;
  • damage, destruction or falsification of documents or records.

15.1 Reporting

Advisors and members of staff:
Where an Advisor or staff member suspects that an act of theft, fraud or corrupt conduct is occurring or has occurred, it is the duty of that Advisor or staff member to report such suspicions to the Consistery Executive. When an Advisor or staff member does not feel comfortable reporting their suspicions to the Consistery Executive, they may report such matters to the WTI Advisory Council.

Consistery Executive:
On receiving a report of suspected theft, fraud or corrupt conduct, the Consistery Executive, must record details of the report, including the time and date the report is made and details of all matters raised.

Anonymous Reports:
Anonymous reports, although not encouraged, may be directed to the Consistery Executive when there is adequate supporting information to enable an investigation to be undertaken. When such reports are directed to other staff members of WTI, this information is to be forwarded on to the Consistery Executive.

15.2 - Investigation

When information received by the Consistery Executive is assessed to warrant investigation, arrangements for such an investigation will be made. These arrangements will include securing all related documentation and advising the WTI Advisory Council of the nature and scope of the investigation. The WTI Advisory Council will be kept informed by the Consistery Executive of all incidents where evidence of fraud or corrupt conduct is found. The Advisor or staff member about whom the allegations are made will be interviewed during the course of the investigation and given the opportunity to explain their actions.

15.3 - Possible Outcomes

There are three possible outcomes of an investigation into alleged theft, fraud or corrupt conduct:

  • where evidence of theft or fraud is found to be of a serious nature, the Consistery Executive, on advice from the WTI Advisory Council will report the theft or fraud to the Police for further action;
  • and/or a Concordance may be convened,
  • or no action will be taken.

Deliberate false allegation of fraud or corrupt conduct will be dealt with in accordance with the above procedures. The RCG-I Mother House will retain all records of actual or suspected theft, fraud or corrupt conduct.

Section 16 - Breaches of Policies and procedures contained in this document

Advisors and staff members are required to adhere to the letter and spirit of this document. Advisors and staff members who become aware of breaches of this code by others should bring their concerns to the attention of the WTI Advisory Council or the Consistery Executive. No Advisor or staff member will be penalized as a result of taking such action, and, as far as possible, information will remain confidential.


revised 2/9/09