These days, more and more jobs have continued shifting over to virtual workplaces. If not entirely, many at least dedicate a portion of their work to these virtual commute arrangements. While this has cleared up a few problems with physical workplaces, it has also created new issues and given old ones a chance to change and grow.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to exist even in virtual work environments. Not only have some parts stayed the same as ever, but the new environment has also given it a chance to change and grow.
Understanding what sexual harassment is
The New York Times discusses workplace harassment in the digital age. Sexual harassment has not changed in certain ways. For example, many people do not know that sexual harassment does not need to involve physical contact or assault in any way. The simple act of threatening someone or trying to coerce them for sexual favors counts as sexual harassment, and this happens just as often in virtual work environments as it did in physical ones.
New forms of sexual harassment
But with new avenues of communication come new forms of harassment, too. Many workers have reported a coworker or even employer doing things like:
- Sending lewd photographs through message attachments
- Exposing themselves on live video chat
- Sending sexual or suggestive comments in private chat channels
- Linking inappropriate things like pornographic sites through work channels
On the plus side, technology also makes it easier to gather evidence of these instances of sexual harassment. It is possible for victims to screen capture and save proof of these interactions with just a few clicks of a button, which they may then use as valuable evidence if they choose to pursue legal action.