The workplace has changed drastically over the past year in Indianapolis and elsewhere across the nation. More and more employers have adjusted the work environment, allowing some if not most employees to work remotely. While this means different dynamics among colleagues, the fact that they no longer share the same workspace does not mean everything has changed. Meetings still occur, collaborations ensue and workplace issues still come up. Unfortunately, some serious issues still persist in the remote work world, such as sexual harassment.
Although employees are not seeing one another face to face, they still interact virtually. Thus, the same concerning behaviors that are considered sexual harassment in the workplace could also be viewed as sexual harassment even though they take place virtually.
So what does virtual harassment look like? Harassment creates a hostile work environment. This is considered a workspace that feel unsafe, behaviors that feel threatening towards someone’s identity or it could be behavior that prevents an employee from being able to do his or her work. Harassment can be words, images and even threatening behavior. Whether it is in person or not, this is considered harassment.
Sexual harassment in remote work
Unfortunately, with remote work increasing, the rate of sexual harassment occurring did not decrease like one would have expected. In fact, this may be occurring more often than in an in-person office setting. It was found that remote work has made it easier for some employees to exert power over those employees considered to be more vulnerable. Texts, phone usage and videos often go unmonitored, are unrecorded or occur outside of an employer-sponsored platform. Thus, this creates a situation where the behavior could go unchecked.
When any form of harassment occurs in the workplace, it is important that an employee understands his or her rights. It is possible to take legal action as a means to stop the behavior and seek remedies for the situation and any damages suffered.
Being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace is an emotional, stressful and confusing matter. One may feel hesitant to speak out about it, fearful that it could impact his or her job. Gaining more information and insight on the matter could help one take the necessary steps to protect his or her rights and pursue a legal action.