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Decision No. 988

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October 28 2004
In Re: IN RE: Review of Kansas West Annual Conference Equitable Compensation Plan for Women Clergy as Required by Decision 968.

Digest of Case

The method of implementation of the Kansas West Annual Conference plan to remedy gender-based inequity in clergy compensation complies with the requirements of Decision 968 and is approved.

Statement of Facts

The Kansas West Annual Conference conducted a Gender Equity Study and concluded that gender-based inequities existed in clergy compensation. A plan was adopted to effectuate a remedy for the inequities. In Decision 968 the Judicial Council directed the Annual Conference to amend the method of implementation of a plan to remedy gender-based inequity in clergy compensation in accordance with the requirements of that decision and to submit the amended method of implementation to the Judicial Council for approval. The Judicial Council retained jurisdiction over the matter. At its May 28, 2004, session the Annual Conference adopted a “Resolution to Create a Gender Claim Procedure for the Kansas West Conference.” The Gender Claim Procedure provided a means for receiving and evaluating claims of gender inequity in compensation on a case-by-case basis. The procedure invites female members of the Conference who were under appointment from 1995-2001 to submit a claim which would address the basis for the claim, the surrounding circumstances, whether the pastor had ever refused an appointment which would have increased compensation, and any alternative reasons other than gender that could explain disparity in compensation (e.g., job performance). The procedure establishes a Review Committee formed by the Board of Equitable Compensation to evaluate claims on a case-by-base basis. The Review Committee is directed to evaluate the information submitted by the claimant, review the claimant’s job performance, consider other factors impacting compensation, and determine the amount of compensation needed to remedy any inequity found. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council retained jurisdiction in Decision 968. Analysis and Rationale In Decision 968 the Judicial Council stated that “[w]hile the adoption of a plan to remedy gender inequity in clergy compensation by an annual conference does not violate the Discipline and is permissible under the Discipline, its method of implementation must not result in further discrimination on the basis of gender.” In Decision 968, the Council identified several ways in which the plan and method of implementation adopted by the Kansas West Annual Conference resulted in the potential for further discrimination on the basis of gender. The Kansas West Annual Conference is commended both for its effort to ensure gender equity in open itineracy and for the thoroughness and fairness of the plan it has now adopted. The method of implementation outlined in the action of its 2004 session fully satisfies the requirements of Decision 968. Decision 968 noted that the automatic assignment of points per year of service and the award of “x” dollars per point to each woman in the study regardless of whether or by what amount their compensation was below similarly situated men in each year of service worked to effectuate the same inequity it sought to alleviate. The plan and method of implementation now addresses allegations of gender inequity in clergy compensation on a case- by-case basis and distributes the fund created in 2002 equitably based upon such determinations.

Decision

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