Working from home doesn’t stop sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2020 | employment law |

There are so many great benefits to the digital age. Workers are able to work faster and more efficiently, and many processes can be automated. A growing number of companies are discovering that allowing employees to work from home benefits both the business and workers.

Working from home has drawbacks too. Some of these problems seem manageable, like ensuring that employees work the exact hours that they should. Other problems catch employers off-guard, as they may think that working remotely should eliminate the problem altogether. Whether you’re a business owner or an employee here in North Carolina, maybe you have found that working from home doesn’t protect workers from workplace sexual harassment. However, experts say that as more businesses give workers the option to dial in from home, they’ll have to tackle this problem.

Remote harassment

Though reports of sexual misconduct in the workplace are down overall, experts say that working from home won’t stop incidents altogether. In some cases, they warn that certain companies may see a rise in sexual harassment allegations. Though unemployment numbers are high right now, and certain industries are increasing hiring, that doesn’t diminish the possibility of workplace sexual harassment.

Experts warn that those who have a predilection for harassing co-workers or subordinates will simply find other methods for targeting victims. Though they may not have physical contact with victims, the increase of one-on-one meetings over video conferencing means that predators may use technology as a means of harassing someone. In some cases, predators may feel empowered to harass someone interviewing for a job who isn’t yet an employee because many people may be desperate to work.

Companies can protect workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently decided to keep investigations open, giving victims more time to file claims of sexual harassment. This means companies will need to be mindful of protecting employees to prevent problems before they happen. Experts recommend that companies use this time to reinforce their sexual harassment policy to their workers and stress their intention to maintain a safe work environment. They can remind employees about expectations of professional conduct, dress codes and options for recording one-on-one meetings.

Though it is up to companies to protect employees from any kind of unsafe work environment, this doesn’t always happen. No worker should have to endure any kind of threat on the job, especially not sexual harassment. Employees have rights that they may not know about and a skilled employment law attorney may be a valuable resource for anyone with questions.