I sit on an international non-profit board where I have an elected leadership position. Another board member senior to me has engaged in a verbal campaign of sacrasm, put-downs, patronization, humiliation, interruption, public remarks and other behaviors at and during board meetings. The campaign has lately escalated to include emails to other board members and officers of the organization putting down my work and devaluating the value I bring to the organization. The President of the Board has counseled me to just ignore it, saying that the person's term is almost up and the influence is weakening. However I find that this person is still perceived as having the weight of being a senior member of the leadership board to members. has on member perception. The offender's behavior is "poisoning the well" against me and limiting my ability to be taken seriously for higher positions in the board.
The offender has been counseled in the past regarding similar behavior towards other women, but evidently the lesson didn't take. If I take him aside in the lobby of the meeting place to firmly tell him that the remarks and behavior is unprofessional and will stop immediately, (unemotional but firm tone, public view but out of earshot in order to protect myself from any hearsay, a trusted advisor to walk with me out when I stop the conversation thus preventing the conversation from being prolonged) I anticipate retaliation from the board and from the individual, causing me to lose over 8 years of combined effort to get on this board.
I have been to the organization's HR department, and they have noted that since we are all volunteers, that their actions would not affect the offender. (Fire a volunteer?) Suggestions?