On Tuesday, KELOLAND News aired an exclusive interview with a former D-C-I agent who took her superiors to court and won.  

Laura Kaiser says they broke the law, after her claims of sexual harassment surfaced.   
In 2012, Kaiser was demoted and forced to take a position in Pierre, hours from her husband and baby.   

Kaiser says it wasn’t right and a jury agreed.  

“This case is not about sexual harassment, this case is about retaliation that started in the office that was condoned by the administration and was supported all the way up to the top to Mr. Jackley himself,” Kaiser said. 

The case raises a lot of questions, including how should an employer respond to harassment in the workplace?  

KELOLAND News spoke with an attorney who specializes in employment law. 

To be clear, she was never involved in this case, but we did provide her with a copy of Kaiser’s complaint just before our interview. 

“The way the facts are laid out in the complaint, I would agree it’s highly suspect, what they did,” Attorney Jean Bender said. 

That’s Attorney Jean Bender’s reaction to the ordeal that allegedly followed after Laura Kaiser’s sexual harassment report came to light. 

The longtime lawyer generally represents employers in her line of work. 

“Moving her to another job, if you did that soley because she filed a charge of harassment, that’s clearly retaliation and a very bad idea. I would never recommend my client do that,” Bender said. 

Bender says she aims to be “hyper-careful” when it comes to dealing with an employee who recently reported harassment. 

“My advice is to take it very seriously and to immediately take action to separate the people who might be involved or to give a timeout maybe so you have some time to do a really good investigation,” Bender said. 

She says that could include a number of options like offering paid leave to the person who made the complaint or making sure they the people involved don’t have to work directly with one another. 

That’s not the only objective when dealing with a sexual harassment complaint. 

“All you need to do it make sure it doesn’t continue. That doesn’t always mean terminating the employee, but sometimes it does. It depends on how egregious the conduct was,” Bender said. 

When it comes to actually reporting sexual harassment, Bender says you should do it right away.

If a co-worker comes to you in confidence asking you to keep the allegations confidential, it should still be reported so an investigation can be done. 

She also says any employer big or small should have a good sexual harassment policy in place.