There’s been a surge in the number of individuals working remotely in recent years. This uptick in online work has led to employers adjusting their perspectives on unlawful activities such as sexual harassment.
When asked what constitutes sexual harassment, many workers would likely mention sexually suggestive comments made in passing in the workplace or inappropriate touching. Can sexual harassment happen in an online, work-from-home work environment, too?
Forms remote sexual harassment may take
There are various ways in which a colleague, client or customer, vendor or supervisor may sexually harass you in an online working environment, including:
Monitoring your work: Your employer may be able to remotely connect to your computer or require you to allow them to monitor you by activating your video. Both of these tactics may allow them to not only control what you look at but also watch what you do when you’re in the comfort of your home environment. It also leaves you vulnerable to having someone change your computer, bring up undesired, sexually charged material you may not want to see, and further assume control over you.
Email or text messaging: There’s generally an uptick in email and text messaging in a remote working environment due to the inability of someone to walk down the hall or into an office to communicate. Workers’ use of personal technology like cell phones and computers leaves them vulnerable to sending or receiving materials that wouldn’t typically pass their employers’ computer filters or be accessible on their work computers.
Sexual harassment doesn’t just involve inappropriate touching, and illegal actions aren’t always overt. You have a right to perform your job without being subjected to unwanted sexual advances and comments. You may want to consider taking legal action if you’ve endured repeated sexually charged treatment at the hands of a colleague, vendor, boss or customer.