In recent years, sexual harassment at the workplace has garnered national attention. More workplaces have made attempts at stamping this issue out, though unfortunately, it continues to persist to this day.
However, some have asked: is it even possible for sexual harassment to occur in a digital workspace, where all employees work from home? The answer is a resounding “yes”.
Forms of harassment
The New York Times highlights the type of workplace harassment that occurs now that many jobs have gone mobile. First, it is important to understand how sexual harassment charges got filed in in-person workplaces. Many people mistakenly think that only physical assault counts as sexual harassment, i.e. when actual contact between the perpetrator and victim happens.
In reality, many different things can fall into the category of sexual harassment. Everything from coercion (i.e. offering promotions in exchange for sexual favors) to threats counts. Even making a statement that disparages a worker for their gender counts, such as telling a female coworker to “get back into the kitchen”.
Harassment in the digital age
All of these things can still happen in the digital workplace. On top of that, new forms of digital-specific harassment have begun to surface. Examples include coworkers emailing a victim sexually suggestive images or photographs, or sending lewd or suggestive messages through instant messaging applications. Perpetrators may even send unsolicited nude photography of themselves to the victim.
Fortunately, workers suffering from sexual harassment in a digital setting still have options. It is possible to take action and protect yourself against these perpetrators and even seek damages for the troubles and pains you went through.