The pandemic forced many organizations to transition their employees to work from home. This change has been welcomed by many, and is encouraging employers to keep this system in place. Even though working from home can make us feel more comfortable, the reality is that sexual harassment can still occur.
What is Remote Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment in the workplace can assume many forms, from telling off-color jokes to physical assault. A survey from 2020, conducted by the Rights of Women, a British human rights organization, found that almost 50% of women encountered some type of sexual harassment while working remotely. This number is staggering and speaks to the necessity of combatting this issue. Remote sexual harassment can include:
- Statements or questions of a sexual nature that occur during phone or video meetings
- Sharing sexually provocative photos, audio or videos with coworkers online
- Digital messaging with a sexual component. This can include email correspondence, sharing suggestive GIFs or emojis or sharing romantic or sexual desires with a coworker.
- Sexual or romantic propositioning of a coworker over social media
How to Stop Virtual Workplace Harassment
Working from home lends itself to a more casual atmosphere, which can give people a false sense of familiarity with coworkers they normally would not have in an office setting. Even though working from home is more casual, it is not an excuse to harass coworkers. If you are being sexually harassed while working from home, here are ways to combat it:
- Confront the offender – state directly that the contact is unwelcome and will not be tolerated. State your concern and leave no question in the offender’s mind.
- Use your voice for others – reporting sexual harassment is extremely difficult. Some victims are afraid of retaliation, or they convince themselves that the offense is not worthy of reporting. If you witness sexual harassment being conducted on a coworker, speak up and address it. Be there as a support for your harassed coworker, as well.
- Report it – take your concerns to your manager or human resources department. Collect evidence, if possible, in the form of screenshots or other recordings.
If you have been sexually harassed while working from home and you feel you are being ignored by your employer, it may be time to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact Race Law today to schedule a consultation.
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