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Danville chamber helps educate businesses about sexual harassment

Local attorneys gave presentation at 'Business at Breakfast' event Tuesday

DANVILLE, Va. – Hunter Byrnes and his partner Steven Gould said the phones at their Danville law firm have been ringing off the hook with employers wanting to know about sexual harassment in the workplace.

"We have a lot of employers calling, saying 'Are we well-prepared?' 'Are we trained?' 'Do we have what we need in place,'" Byrnes explained.

Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce President Alexis Ehrhardt said that's the reason the chamber asked the attorneys to speak at the "Business at Breakfast" event Tuesday morning.

"We heard (the desire) from members and having Byrnes-Gould here, who have worked a lot in this field, they offered to provide a program for us to help our members understand how to address these challenges in the workplace," Ehrhardt said.

Byrnes said employers need to pay attention to and listen to their employees.

Tuesday's presentation educated employers about sexual harassment laws.

It also highlighted common behavior and topics of discussion in the workplace that can easily be perceived as sexual harassment and what steps, including training, employers can take to prevent sexual harassment.

Byrnes said that in light of the high-profile cases in 2017, he expects to be busy later this year with local cases.

"I think that a lot of the cases that will be filed as the result of people becoming more aware, we would expect they start getting filed this year," Byrnes said. "It takes time for those cases to work themselves through."


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