Remote Work: How Sexual Harassment Is Still an Ongoing Problem

After more than a year of COVID-19 practices, millions of workers are still working remotely. You might think that without physical interactions in a traditional workplace, there could not be sexual harassment. Yet sexual harassment is not only physical – but it can also happen virtually and over the phone. If you’ve experienced sexual harassment or discrimination while working from home, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Learn what to do in this situation to protect yourself.

Common Types of Remote Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you have been telecommuting due to the coronavirus or have always worked from home, you are at risk of online workplace sexual harassment – any unwanted sexual conduct on a digital platform. This is a crime that can cause emotional distress, damage to your reputation, and lost wages. In the digital era, there are many ways in which a perpetrator can harass, stalk, cyberbully, and threaten victims online. Common examples include: 

  • Inappropriate emails
  • Requests for sexual favors via email or messaging
  • Online sexual advances
  • Sending pornographic content or website links
  • Crude or inappropriate sexual remarks or jokes
  • Unwanted sexualization
  • Sexual bullying online
  • Online stalking
  • Exposure of sexual organs via video chat
  • Sharing personal information without your consent
  • Discriminating against a worker because of his or her sex
  • Exploitation, coercion, or threats

As a remote worker, you could also experience sexual harassment over the phone during work-related calls or through sexually inappropriate text messages. For example, your boss may ask you on a date over the phone or engage in quid pro quo sexual harassment, which requests a sexual favor in return for something, such as a raise or promotion. If you experience any type of sexual harassment or discrimination in the remote workplace, you have legal rights under state and federal law.

What to Do if You’ve Been Sexually Harassed While Working Remotely

Sexual harassment in any capacity can be substantially damaging to a survivor, both personally and professionally. Knowing how to respond to online or over-the-phone sexual harassment at work can help you protect yourself from emotional trauma, shed light on this issue in your workplace, stand up for yourself and others who may be experiencing the same problem, and potentially recover financial compensation for your troubles. 

Take the following steps if you’ve been sexually harassed through remote work:

  1. Save evidence. Before you do anything, save evidence of the sexual harassment. If you were harassed on a digital platform, you should be able to save emails or take screenshots to document the incident. Document each sexual harassment incident in as much detail as possible.
  2. Talk to the person. Sometimes, all it takes is communication to clear up a sexual harassment issue. The offender might not have realized how his or her remarks were making you feel and may take corrective action without needing further prompting.
  3. Report to HR. If communication doesn’t work or you fear for your safety in talking to the perpetrator, go to human resources and report the issue. Write down who you spoke to at HR and how they responded to your complaint.
  4. File a claim. If your employer does not properly address the issue, file an official complaint against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC can investigate your workplace and may take corrective action against your employer.

You have the right to consult with an attorney at any point during a remote work sexual harassment issue. You can speak to an attorney from the beginning of your legal issue for tips and advice as to how to handle the situation. If you’ve lost your job, been demoted, or suffered other losses due to virtual sexual harassment in the remote workplace, a lawyer can help you pursue justice and financial compensation. Contact a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney today for more information.