Can sexual harassment happen when I work from home?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2020 | employment law |

The recent global events have caused many businesses to try some creative maneuvering to remain viable. For some, this meant creating opportunities for more employees to work from home. Working from home often means having to hold virtual meetings and communicate with colleagues through digital channels. North Carolina employees might think that working from home would reduce the chances of becoming a victim of sexual harassment, but this is not necessarily true.

Sexual harassment can lead to debilitating psychological consequences, including depression and anxiety. Just because the unwanted advances, suggestive talk or verbal abuse happens remotely does not mean it cannot have the same negative effects. Some sources say that online activity has doubled in recent months, much of it work-related, and with that increase comes more opportunities for online harassment.

It is possible that people simply feel more relaxed at home and may lower their professional standards when interacting with other remote employees. Employees working from home may dress more casually or unwittingly reveal personal details of their lives in the backgrounds of their video meetings, which may cause co-workers to feel at liberty to step over the line. Some employees, especially women, report receiving significantly more video messages from work, many involving personal comments about their appearance or other inappropriate subjects.

Working remotely does not remove the protections from sexual harassment that a North Carolina employee enjoys in the workplace. Those who feel they are receiving excessive or inappropriate contact while working from home may wonder if it qualifies as harassment. An experienced employment law attorney can provide answers to these and other questions.