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One of the first Silence Breakers

Iron Range women built foundation for combating workplace harassment, paving the way for #MeToo

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Lois Jenson

Lois Jenson at home with an autographed movie poster given to her by the cast of North Country

EVELETH — Somewhere among the mammoth trucks traversing the dirt terrain, the crushed rock moving by conveyor, the concentrator roaring to life, the piles of pellets loaded into a rail car and whisked away to shipping ports, the workers clad in hard hats and coveralls — and not to be overlooked — the often majestic views of land below, a movement started that almost 30 years later would resonate across the country.

Lois Jenson in 1988 sued her employer, Eveleth Mines, for sexual harassment. The class action case, the first of its kind for sexual harassment, was as much precedent setting as it was considered by some to be an affront to the largest employer on Minnesota’s Iron Range. But all Jenson and the other women involved wanted was a policy and the fair right to a middle class lifestyle that only the mines could provide.

United Taconite - Forbes

Cars fill the parking lot at United Taconite in Forbes on  Aug. 11, 2016. Lois Jenson was employed at the Forbes plant when it was Eveleth Mines, before it closed and reopened under new ownership.

Lois Jenson

Lois Jenson, pictured here in 2005, filed the first class action sexual harassment lawsuit in 1988 against Eveleth Mines. The case, which also established the hostile work environment, helped changed the landscape for workplace sexual harassment.


On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, Time magazine named the #MeToo movement or the "Silence Breakers" as the "Person of the Year," a nod to the millions of people who came forward with their stories of sexual harassment, assault and rape.


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