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February 13, 2018 05:00 PM

What Is Workplace Harassment?

Sioux Falls, SD

What is harassment?  It can mean many things in different situations. We sat down with a group of local businesswomen to find out what harassment in the workplace looks like to them. 

For women of all walks of life, the workplace can be a hostile environment.  Whether it's customers or coworkers, women face attacks that are physical and emotional.

"Sometimes I think as women we're seen as our value being our appearance. Or that's what maybe it's perceived to be in a lot of cases. So, when you're in a business setting and there's a comment made about your appearance that's what you perceive as your value that you're bringing to work," EmBe Marketing Director Abby Bischoff said. 

"Comments that, while may have been given innocently, are perceived or received to be kind of crossing the line. So, comments from dress, to weight loss. Or you know, more personal comments than that," Davenport Evans attorney Jean Bender said.

There's also difficulty knowing how to handle these situations. Many women never speak out for fear of being called "difficult" or "dramatic."  They also worry the future of their careers will be hostile because they spoke out.

"A lot of the time where you'll be in a group of people and people are tagging off of each other's jokes and you feel like if you don't contribute to that conversation; that you're the wet blanket. You know, you're not fun. You're perceived as, 'We're not going to hang out with that person again because they can't roll with the punches and they don't have a sense of humor.'  When really, it's hurtful," Vice President of Downtown Sioux Falls Brienne Maner said. 

This is just a small part of our roundtable discussion. In our Eye on KELOLAND at 10, we'll explore what women should do if they're being harassed, and how the MeToo movement is changing the workplace for future generations of women.

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