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Sexual Harassment Policies in Nonprofits

Journal Title Nonprofit Management and Leadership
Published Date June 29, 2022
Research Type
Authors Erynn Beaton


The nonprofit sector strives to be a virtuous and transparent space, one that is diverse, inclusive, and welcoming. Still, inappropriate and exclusionary behaviors can and do occur in nonprofits—one of which is sexual harassment (SXH). Currently, little research on SXH in the nonprofit sector exists, and even less is known about the steps taken by nonprofits to protect their employees and stakeholders from SXH. This study examines rates of SXH policy adoption among nonprofits and the relationship between SXH policy adoption and organizational characteristics. Drawing from a state-wide survey, we find that there is wide variation among nonprofits in their adoption of a written SXH policy. Organizations that have full-time employees, more revenue, and greater capacity are more likely to have a policy. Organizations that serve women are no more likely to have a policy; however, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-serving organizations are more likely to have a policy. We discuss the implications of these results, including the conceptualization of SXH as part of the broader issues of discrimination, harassment, and bullying in nonprofits.

Ma, Y., Beaton, E.E., & Bhati, A. (2022). Sexual Harassment Policies in Nonprofits. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 33(2), 411-426.