Sexual harassment while working from home is real
Sexual harassment at work is not just repulsive, but it has many severe consequences for the victim leading to anxiety and depression.
Inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances by colleagues or bosses put the victims in the position where in many cases, they hesitate to report it due to fear of losing their jobs or missing out on any promotions.
One would have thought that working from home would stop any sexual harassment, but that is not the case. Sexual harassment while working from home is very much real. Discrimination online disproportionately affects women in the US. Due to COVID 19, online activity has doubled, and unfortunately, so has the online harassment.
Receiving a sexually inappropriate email or message from a colleague or your boss is no different from being verbally sexually harassed at the workplace. We have seen cases where bosses and co-workers have made inappropriate comments about an employee’s outfits on a video call. There are other cases where female employees have received a disproportionate number of unnecessary video calls or messages when compared to their male counterparts, which could constitute unlawful harassment under the law.
Sexual harassment, revolting as it is, is not the only form of discrimination an employee can suffer while working from home. In fact, employees working from home are protected against all forms of unlawful discrimination, whether it be based on Age, Religion, Disability, Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation, National Origin, or any other protected trait under federal, state, or city anti-discrimination laws.
Anti-discrimination laws are there to protect the employees from any type of discrimination at the workplace. Working from home does not mean that the same laws do not apply. An employee is fully protected under federal, state, and city laws while working remotely.
If you or anyone you know have suffered any form of sexual harassment or any discrimination at work, you must report it in writing pursuant to your employer’s complaint procedure. If you are unaware of any complaint procedure, complain to your human resource officer or management. After reporting it, if you feel that your employer has not taken your complaint seriously and/or the harassment has continued, it is time for you to contact a discrimination attorney who will advocate for you to get you the justice you deserve.
Story by Jeffrey T. Rosenberg, Esq. Senior Counsel at Nisar Law Group, P.C.