Many California companies have allowed employees to work from home. Remote work offers perks, but some workers may still face online sexual harassment.
What is online sexual harassment?
Online sexual harassment involves any type of verbal, written or visual conduct considered inappropriate in a sexual nature. If the conduct interferes with a person’s work and makes them uncomfortable, it’s considered a hostile work environment. This behavior can take place over video chatting, text messaging, email and communication apps.
Verbal online sexual harassment is done through the use of jokes, slurs, insults, teasing and epithets. If it’s visual, it could include drawings, symbols, posters, certain emojis, memes or gifs, emails or social media posts.
Sometimes, sexual harassment might not only be comments or showing the victim explicit images. It could be even more obvious and demanding such as requesting sexual favors through online means such as video chats or text messages. The abuser might even offer some professional perk in exchange for sex.
What can employers do to prevent online sexual harassment?
If you have faced online sexual harassment as a remote worker, it’s important to report the behavior to your supervisor. Your supervisor can report it to your employer so that clear guidelines can be created for an anti-sexual harassment policy for the company. This should include both in-office and remote workers to keep everyone safe.
It should be made clear that harassment of any kind is illegal. There should be training sessions that explicitly describe what constitutes inappropriate and unacceptable behavior and what the consequences are for anyone who is found to be sexually harassing anyone.
Employers should encourage employees to ask questions whenever necessary. Supervisors and employees should know their roles in preventing sexual online harassment and immediately deal with any instances of it. No employee should be reprimanded or punished for reporting online sexual harassment.
Workplace sexual harassment of any nature is illegal and intolerable. If you have faced it, you should report it immediately.