Sexual harassment while working remotely – is it possible?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | employment law |

With many workplaces shifting to a hybrid setup – where you spend some of your working hours in a week in the office and the rest of the time working from home – holding virtual meetings and communicating with colleagues through digital channels have become the norm. You might think that this may reduce the chances of becoming a victim of sexual harassment, but this may not be necessarily true.

Can you experience sexual harassment in a virtual work setup?

When you are working from home, you may feel relaxed and a certain sense of security that may affect how you interact with other remote employees. Your actions and the way you dress may be more casual and you may even unwittingly reveal personal details in your background during video meetings. This may encourage co-workers to feel a sense of familiarity and may feel at liberty to make inappropriate comments.

As a result, you may receive significantly more video messages co-workers or hear personal comments about your appearance or your personal life. The increase in online activity due to the shift in working arrangements may present more opportunities for virtual sexual harassment.

Coping with virtual sexual harassment

Regardless of the setting, sexual harassment may have a long-term impact on your life and may lead to debilitating psychological conditions, including depression and anxiety. Even remotely, unwanted advances, suggestive language or verbal abuse can affect you negatively.

If you feel like you are the subject of sexual harassment in a virtual work setup, you may need to have a conversation with HR or report it to your immediate supervisor. You may also seek help from an experienced employment law attorney so that you can gain insight on whether your experience qualifies as harassment.