OTLA Trial Lawyer Winter 2022

47 Trial Lawyer • Winter 2022 answering more questions with brevity. This all being said, the original question merits a more complete answer. In my newspaper column, I note additional resources exist on my website. My goal in writing this article is twofold — 1) the original person asking the question will discover a fuller answer (this article) on my website, and 2) my fel low OTLAns who, like me, don’t focus on employment law issues might learn a valuable nugget. Fingers crossed. After deciding to expand my article, I quickly realized the same fundamental challenge I originally faced, I’m not a subject matter expert. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I enlisted the help of an expert in the area, employment lawyer and OTLA member Mitra Shahri. When I first spoke to Shahri, she kindly provided her opinion in response to the reader’s question. She was very generous with her time and knowledge. I then asked if she’d be willing to write something I could include, and she agreed! Her anwer is provided below. Shahri: I am sorry to hear about your daughter’s situation. Unfortunately, this is a common problem many young women face in the workplace, even in the wake of the Me Too movement. Involving an attorney at this stage may be a bit premature as she has other good options that does not cost her any money and would help strengthen her case, should she need an attorney. Quitting has a downside She can walk away and quit. This is the easy way out but a very bad idea for her and other women in her position! She will likely not get unemployment benefits. She may have a tough time finding another job if she truthfully shares the reason for leaving or if the new employer wants a reference from the physician who may be vindictive. More importantly, although it seems easier to just quit, walking away from these types of situations can have long lasting negative psychological impact on a woman’s selfworth and emotional health. What better opportunity to teach and encourage your daughter to stand up for herself? If she learns to take the easy way out now, is she going to take the easy way the next time she is faced with a similar situation at work or in her personal life? What happens if she has worked her way up the ladder for years and is again faced with a similar situation? Will she give it all up and walk away again?Women have come a long way, mostly because women before them have had the courage to stand up to sexual harassment and sexism. Inmy experience, if she simply walks away, she will be filled with regret down the road for not having done something more to help herself or the next woman who takes her place. Be direct If her true desire is for him to stop harassing her and for her to continue to work there, then it would be advisable for her to be more direct and make him aware of how she is feeling about his comments and behavior. This does not necessarily require an unpleasant or ugly confrontation and can even be done in a friendly conversation or even by an email or a text. Email will make it easier for her to be calm, courageous and thoughtful in the words she uses to express her feelings and her request for a professional workplace. An email serves to put him on notice that his behavior is not welcomed. It also documents his behavior and her attempts to stop it. Later, if he continues with his inappropriate behavior or wants to retaliate, then she is legally covered. Any attorney can easily use that email to give Dr. Man Child a legal kick in the groin. In my experience, men in heat are a bit dense, so the physician may not even See Workplace Sexual Harassment 48 Blaine Clooten received a question about workplace sexual harassment for his column, “Ask A Lawyer,” which runs in the East Oregonian. Clooten asked other OTLA members for help answering the question.