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Sexual harassment in the digital age

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Workplace Harassment

Traditionally speaking, sexual harassment has been something that takes place when individuals are working together, perhaps in a one-on-one setting. It could be a co-worker making unwanted advances or making someone feel uncomfortable. It could be a boss promising a promotion in exchange for certain sexual favors.

This certainly still happens, but it’s important to understand that sexual harassment can be different now in the digital age. There are a lot of different activities that may happen when two people aren’t even together, but that may certainly constitute harassment or the creation of a hostile workplace.

Sending explicit pictures

One way that this could happen is if somebody sends explicit pictures to a co-worker or a subordinate. Maybe your boss has been talking to you more often, and you felt like they might have been flirting with you, but you didn’t say anything because it didn’t seem too serious. But then, one night when they’d already gone home, they texted you an explicit photograph. This type of harassment could take place at any time see, even when neither of you are at work.

Making inappropriate comments

Or, perhaps your boss or co-worker has connected with you on your social media platform. When they requested it, you thought nothing of it. But now they’ve started commenting on all of your pictures, making inappropriate comments about the way that you look or what they would like to do if they were with you. These things make you feel very uncomfortable, and you are also worried about the fact that other people can read those comments. Again, this may not even happen when you’re at work, even though it is still a workplace issue since this person is a co-worker or supervisor.

What can you do about this?

One of the problems here is that it’s difficult for employees to get away from this type of harassment. For instance, when talking about general sexual harassment that takes place online or on the phone, experts usually advise blocking numbers and trying to limit online interactions. But you don’t really have the option to block your boss’s phone number. So what can you do?

The key is to remember that this is still harassment, it is still illegal, and you still do have rights. You may need to look into the legal steps to take to protect those rights at a time like this.