Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That Canon I.17.5 be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 5 No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship,
and governance or employment of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital or family status (including pregnancy or child care plans), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise specified by Canons.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon I.17 be further amended by adding a new Section 6 and renumbering all subsequent sections:
Sec. 6 No employment search shall (a) include questions about race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital or family status (including pregnancy and child care plans), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities, or age, or (b) request a photograph of an applicant prior to an offer of employment being made and accepted.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon III.1.2 be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 2 No person shall be denied access to the discernment process or to any process for the employment, licensing, calling, or deployment for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital or family status (including pregnancy and child care plans), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No right to employment, licensing, ordination,call, deployment or election is hereby established.
Sources as varied as the Church Pension Group’s annual Clergy Compensation Report, academic research (see for example: Svoboda-Barber, 2017; Danieley, 2018; Nesbitt, 2014 and ongoing), and copious self-reported stories all tell us that the Episcopal Church is no different from the rest of our country and world when it comes to under-employing and under-compensating women and other minority groups.
The exception is this: as a religious organization, the Church is generally exempt from many of the laws and best practice guidelines that protect applicants from discriminatory practices in hiring and employment, including those that limit what kinds of personal information an employer may use in hiring decisions. In the Church it is still the case that women are routinely asked about their plans for childbearing and child care; older and younger applicants alike are routinely asked to defend why they are applying for a particular position at their age; LGBTQ+ individuals are routinely asked intimate details about their home lives; and so on.
Additionally, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Society for Human Resources Management agree in their conclusion that applications that require a photograph measurably disadvantage women and people of color. Because initial impressions carry such strong unconscious weight, this conclusion continues to hold true even in an age where search engines and social media make it easy (and in some ways even commendable) to look up applicants during the employment process.
These amendments propose, therefore, that the Episcopal Church willingly submit itself to restrictions similar to the ones that protect applicants in secular employment, and further extend the protections we already apply to discernment for ordination, as one step forward into a more just and equitable Church for all people.
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