Sexual harassment and assault allegations appear to be growing by the day nationwide. While some involve high-profile figures, they all pose the question of what can you do to create a safe work environment. On this week’s Inside KELOLAND, a local litigation attorney offers up advice on the actions you can take. Click here to view the Inside KELOLAND segment with Brady Mallory and Davenport Evans lawyer Sandra Hoglund Hanson.
Davenport Evans lawyer Sandra Hoglund Hanson was interviewed on another occasion by Keloland News regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. The following is the transcript from www.keloland.com. Click here for video from the televised story.
The #MeToo movement has been all over social media, and one place where sexual harassment can happen is the workplace.
Lawyer Sandra Hanson is a partner at Davenport Evans in Sioux Falls. She says that for employees and where they work, staying quiet about harassment “doesn’t help either party.” She says “the first step is to push back.”
“For example, if a person at work is being sexually harassed, the first thing they should do is to tell the person that’s doing it, ‘This isn’t okay. I don’t like this. You’re making me uncomfortable,’ if they’re comfortable doing that,” Hanson said.
But if you’re not, or if the harassment continues, Hanson suggests reviewing your employer’s workplace policies.
“The next step, look at the sexual harassment policy that employers have, and/or go to someone else that’s in a position of authority, and make your report,” Hanson said.
The work isn’t done here, though.
“The follow-up is also important,” Hanson said. “Follow up with the employees involved to make sure that the behavior has stopped, and to make sure that people aren’t inappropriately retaliating, because that is what can stop people from coming forward.”
She says the thought that a complaint won’t go anywhere can also deter people from saying something. But, she says, you should trust where you work.
“From an employee’s side, I would say, to look for those kind of avenues for reporting, and talk to your employer, trust your employer, that they will hear you, and they will believe you, and they will do the right thing,” Hanson said.
She describes the #MeToo movement as “a sea change.”
“I think it’s an opening up of the world into behaviors that we’ve kept hidden, things that people have felt ashamed of, and that harassers have taken advantage of to inflict their harassment on people that were without power,” Hanson said.
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Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is one of the State’s largest law firms. The firm’s attorneys provide business and litigation counsel to individuals and corporate clients in a variety of practice areas. For more information about Davenport Evans, visit www.dehs.com.