Can sexual harassment happen in a virtual workplace?
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Can sexual harassment happen in a virtual workplace?

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2022 | Sexual Harassment |

In the modern workplace, sexual harassment continues to pose a very real problem for workers of any gender. In recent years, media attention on this particular topic has increased greatly, allowing for a renewed attempt at stamping it out.

One of the best ways to combat sexual harassment is to understand how to identify it. In doing this, workers who experience sexual harassment can seek the appropriate compensation.

Media focus on sexual harassment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses sexual harassment at the workplace. Most people think of physical assault when they discuss sexual harassment, but this makes up just a small portion of the cases faced in the workplace every year.

Non-physical sexual harassment shows an even higher rate of prevalence, especially with the spike in employees taking to working from home (WFH) instead of in-office work.

Sexual harassment in virtual spaces

Sexual harassment can include quid pro quo and hostile work environments. Quid pro quo refers to “trading” sexual favors for more advantages in the workplace, on behest of an employer. It can also include an employer threatening an employee with adverse action if they refuse to comply.

Hostile work environments serve as the result of actions taken or words spoken by a perpetrator which make it difficult or impossible for the victim to continue working. Examples can include spreading derogatory rumors, sending inappropriate pictures or text messages, and discussing sexual matters in public or in the company of an unwilling person. Needless to say, any of these issues can still take place in a virtual environment.

Fortunately for victims, these acts of sexual harassment carry just as much weight as physical assault. Because of that, workers also receive protections from them.

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