Former employees picket SCAA
Former employees of SCAA lead a protest last Friday March 25 against the actions taken by the board on allegations employees being harassed by a customer. Other community members joined in on the protest on HWY 95 that afternoon.
(Photo by EMILY BONSANT)
Hagadone News Network | March 31, 2022 1:00 AM
BONNERS FERRY — Former employees of Second Chance Animal Adoption picketed in front of the animal shelter and thrift store on Friday in response to allegations that employees were being sexual harassed by a customer.
On March 10, there was an incident where a customer allegedly inappropriately touched two female staff members and verbally harassed a third employee, former employees told the Bonners Ferry Herald. By March 18, six of the seven employees quit due to what they said was an unsatisfactory response by the board. At the time of the alleged incident, six out of the seven staff members were female. SCAA was closed until March 24 due to the staff shortage.
A former employee, who did not wish to be named, said that they decided to protest because they felt the SCAA board did not stand up for employees when they asked for help.
“He is a long-time customer and took precedence over employee safety,” she said.
Former employees said that they did not feel that their concerns were heard or that the situation was properly addressed by the board.
SCAA board members said they care for their employees and their safety and have always encouraged them to report any matters of concern.
The former employees said they have been contacted by others who claim similar interactions with the alleged man and are trying to work with law enforcement. Those protesting said past employees of SCAA are coming forward sharing their own similar situations with customers.
“This is an ongoing problem. [...] We absolutely love the thrift store, we love what it does for the animals. Each and every one of us completely loved our jobs and were heart-broken, but we can’t stand for that,” she said.
Carla Clark, worked for SCAA for seven year until resigning after the incident earlier in the month. She said that the board of directors should step down.
Bonners Ferry Assistant Police Chief Marty Ryan advised those protesting to keep it civil and to not go on to SCAA property or impede traffic. They have the lawful right to protest, he said.
No charges have been pressed at this time as the man is still being identified.
“We have always encouraged our staff to call law enforcement immediately should they ever feel threatened in any way and they have done so in the past,” Georgette Baillesd'Err, SCAA board president, said in the statement.. “We have never had a policy prohibiting that action.”
A review of video surveillance of the alleged perpetrator does not substantiate the event as reported, Baillesd'Err said.
The all-volunteer board has been there for the community’s lost and abandoned dogs and cats and its residents, Baillesd’Err said.It is disheartening that some are quick to make assumptions without knowing the complete facts.
However, she said she wanted the community to know the animals at Second Chance are being well cared for by the board of directors and remaining staff.