Virtual Sexual Harassment: Know Your Rights
Employment laws are in place to guarantee workers a safe environment that is free of discrimination or harassment on the basis of characteristics such as sex, race, and religion. Despite these laws, sexual harassment remains a leading problem in the workplace.
In recent years, there has been a huge shift to remote work, with many Americans working from home. Although fewer workers are reporting to a job site, sexual harassment remains a problem. In fact, a new form of virtual sexual harassment has emerged. Sexual harassment lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau help workers from Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas understand what virtual sexual harassment is, and what they can do about it.
What Is Virtual Sexual Harassment?
Many people have a misunderstanding about what constitutes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment does not just refer to overt physical actions, like grabbing, hugging, or kissing. By definition, sexual harassment is any type of unwanted sexually charged behavior. Because sexual harassment can include comments and innuendos, the problem does not go away in a remote or virtual work environment. Virtual sexual harassment can take place on a social media site, in a virtual meeting room, or through an online messaging center. Examples of virtual sexual harassment include:
- Jokes that are sexual in nature
- Comments or messages about a worker’s looks, what they are wearing, etc.
- Flirtatious comments or unwanted sexual advances and/or invitations
- Sharing or sending of sexual images or material
- Sharing of personal sexual information
- Requests for sexual favors
Reporting Virtual Sexual Harassment
Virtual sexual harassment should be taken just as seriously as any other form of sexual harassment. When a worker experiences virtual sexual harassment they should take the following steps:
- Tell the harasser to stop - Harassers should be clearly told that their behavior is inappropriate and unwanted. If sexual harassment victims do not feel comfortable confronting the harasser in person they can let them know in writing or through a third-party.
- Report harassment to a supervisor and/or human resources department - Sexual harassment victims should report harassment to a direct supervisor. If a worker is being harassed by their supervisor, or if the supervisor fails to respond to a sexual harassment complaint, employees should file a claim with their human resources department.
- Contact a sexual harassment lawyer - Anyone who has been a victim of virtual sexual harassment should contact a lawyer to discuss their legal options regarding a sexual harassment claim.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
Sexual harassment lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can advise workers in the Daytona Beach area if they should file a civil claim. Generally speaking a lawsuit should be filed if a worker has been taken advantage of by an employer, if they have been subject to a hostile work environment, or if they have faced workplace retaliation (demotion, termination, denial of a promotion, etc.) after reporting sexual harassment.
Contact Our Practice
If you have been a victim of virtual sexual harassment, the lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help you consider your legal options. To schedule a personal consultation with our legal team, contact our practice online, or call (386) 258-7313 at your earliest convenience.