Can Inappropriate Text Messages Constitute Sexual Harassment?
It’s common for people who work together to communicate through text messages. While text messaging can be a great way for coworkers to let each other know when they’re running late or need to miss work, sometimes texts between coworkers can become personal, sometimes going too far. When text messages take on an unwanted sexual nature, a sexual harrassment attorney can help.
Because texting can happen outside of work hours, some may be left thinking, “can inappropriate text messages constitute sexual harassment?.” Serving Daytona Beach, FL, and Palm Coast, FL, the attorneys of Chanfrau & Chanfrau would like to take a moment to answer this question and discuss legal options when sexual harassment has occurred.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances. Harassment may be verbal or physical. A request for sexual favors is also considered sexual harassment.
Workplace sexual harassment may occur in person, over email, over phone conversations, or by text messages during work hours or outside of work hours.
Sexual harassment is usually nonconsensual but in certain situations, sexual harassment may occur in a consensual sexual relationship if, for example, job benefits are offered in exchange for sexual favors.
Text Messages Can Be Considered Sexual Harassment
Because sexual harassment includes any type of unwanted sexual advances, text messages can be considered sexual harassment when they take on an unwanted sexual nature.
Even when received outside of work hours, text messages from a boss or coworker that are sexual in nature can create a hostile work environment. Such text messages could be considered sexual harassment.
Any texts that are sexual in nature or contain unwanted sexual advances may be considered sexual harassment. Some common examples include:
- Unwanted flirtatious messages
- Sending sexually explicit photos
- Asking for sexually explicit photos
- Texting vulgar jokes or memes
- Sexually-threatening messages
- Promising promotions or other job benefits for sexual favors
What Can You Do If You Are Sexual Harassed Via Text?
When sexual harassment occurs over text messaging, it’s important that the texts are saved and the employer’s human resources department is notified of the occurrence. If no action is taken on behalf of the employer to remedy the situation, it may be possible to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against them.
It’s important to note that in order to be considered sexual harassment, the sexual advances must be unwanted. With this in mind, not engaging with sexual texts and replying in clear terms that the sexual advances are unwanted can strengthen claims that sexual harassment has occurred.
Speak With an Attorney
If an employer is notified of a sexual harassment claim and fails to take action, it may be possible to recover damages through a lawsuit. Speaking with a sexual harassment attorney can help build a strong case and recover compensation for such damages as:
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Schedule a Consultation
If you believe you’ve been sexually harassed and are considering taking legal action, please call our Daytona Beach office at (386) 258-7313 or contact us online to discuss your best course of action.