Sexual Harassment in the Remote Workplace

Shocked woman reading a message on her laptop Many companies shifted to a remote work model in response to the coronavirus pandemic. That means their employees have parted ways with various aspects of physical workplaces. And while commuting and in-person meetings have become a thing of the past for some, sexual harassment has not. It may look different, but it is just as real and damaging as ever before.

Virtual Harassment Statistics

Remote work can be very isolating. It is easy to assume that you are the only one dealing with unwelcome sexual behavior that impacts your well-being and ability to fulfill your job duties. 

The reality is quite different. A 2021 Pew Research Center report found that 41% of Americans have personally experienced some form of online harassment, including sexual harassment. In fact, 16% of women and 5% of men stated that they had been sexually harassed online.

Survey data from Rights of Women showed that 15% of women who have experienced sexual harassment at work also reported an increase in virtual harassment while working remotely. One woman even shared her experience of being screenshotted over Zoom and having her photo shared amongst colleagues, along with derogatory comments and lewd suggestions about sexual acts.

Examples of Online Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment did not disappear as companies moved to remote and hybrid work. Instead, the harassers found other means — such as video calls and chats — of reaching their targets.

Many victims are left to wonder what constitutes sexual harassment in the remote workplace. Examples of this behavior can include:

  • Sexual statements, comments, or questions during calls or video meetings
  • Subjecting viewers or listeners to sexual content during virtual meetings
  • Sexually suggestive or explicit digital messages
  • Messages or posts sent between coworkers on social media platforms
  • Other unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that creates a hostile work environment

Call Our Employment Lawyer for Free

You may be entitled to compensation for damages such as lost wages or emotional distress. Our experienced attorney will listen to your story and help determine the best course of action.

Call 757-223-4580 to schedule a free consultation with James H. Shoemaker, Jr. He serves clients from Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, and throughout the U.S.

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