Workplace sexual harassment can occur online

You work in an office space, so you only have a few brief interactions with colleagues each day. Like so many today, much of your conversations are carried out online via email or other messaging apps. Generally, work-related conversations are professional and to the point.

However, lately, you’ve started to receive messages from a co-worker that make you feel uncomfortable. They are of a sexual nature. Could this be sexual harassment?

Harassment is not always physical

While sexual harassment frequently does take on a physical form, this is not always the case. Harassment can take place online and it is no less damaging to those on the receiving end. If a colleague is sending you unwelcome pictures of a sexual nature, or suggestive messages, this could constitute sexual harassment.

You should alert your management or HR department, who should be equipped to deal with the issue promptly. If you’ve been let down in this area, then you might want to start thinking about your legal options.

Indirect messages can also be harassment

The messages themselves don’t necessarily have to be sent to you directly. For instance, if someone has created a fake social media account, with pictures of you and comments of a sexual nature, this may constitute sexual harassment.

Whether the harassment takes on a physical or online form, you do not have to put up with it. You have every right to feel safe in your working environment, and if you don’t then something is likely amiss. If you’ve been subjected to sexual harassment, getting in touch with a knowledgeable party can help you assert your legal rights.



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