If you have been working remotely during the pandemic, you are not alone. Countless employees were told to work from home and not report to the office. However, there are workplace problems that are still prevalent while an individual is working from home.
Even if you are working from home, you could still suffer from sexual harassment. Virtual sexual harassment has become a problem for workers who are now performing job duties remotely.
Examples of Sexual Harassment While Working Remotely
Sexual harassment can come in many forms, and sometimes it is more discreet than others. As an example, it can happen different ways while you are working from home.
It could involve inappropriate emails, sexually explicit images sent via messenger or text message, inappropriate jokes, or unwanted sexual advances that are made during virtual meetings.
You should be very alert and attentive. While a single incident is most likely not sexual harassment, if you notice an ongoing pattern then it could signify that there is an issue.
You should notify your employer of your concerns and file a complaint about sexual harassment quickly. You want the harassment to stop and you want to make sure the appropriate action has been taken to put an end to the behavior.
Print out any emails, messages sent via messaging apps, get screenshots of images, and if possible, screenshots or recordings of anything said or done during virtual meetings.
You will want to get statements from any witnesses, which could include coworkers who were present during the meeting and heard what was said or saw inappropriate gestures being made.
Documenting everything and maintaining evidence to support your claim is a necessity. Without evidence that proves you suffered sexual harassment while working remotely, your claim will not prevail, and you will not be able to recoup compensation for the damages you suffered by being sexually harassed.
An employment law attorney will help you review your evidence and determine the total losses you suffered because of the remote workplace sexual harassment.
Your damages may include lost wages, lost benefits, mental anguish, and more. You will want to make sure everything is properly documented, so keep a journal where you can write down the specifics of the incidents and how you are treated.
What to Do If Experiencing Sexual Harassment While Working Remotely
If you are a victim of sexual harassment while working remotely, you will need to follow the same protocol as if you were harassed while in the physical workplace.
Review your employee handbook and get the details for pursuing a sexual harassment claim. You will most likely start by getting copies of all supporting evidence and documentation and then notifying your employer’s human resources (HR) department.
Be sure to document how your employer responds to your complaint. Also, keep any - and all -correspondence that you receive referring to your sexual harassment complaint.
Documentation is essential to your claim’s success. If your employer does not resolve the issue, or if there is ongoing harassment, you should advance your claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC will investigate your claim, gather supporting documentation, and working to resolve the matter with your employer. If the issue is not resolved, or if your employer has a record of such behavior or if the investigation reveals intentional illegal actions, then they will recommend that you file a lawsuit.
When you file a lawsuit, the court will determine the outcome of your claim and your employer could also face legal penalties.
Evidence and supporting documentation are essential to the success of your workplace sexual harassment claim even if you were sexually harassed while working remotely.
Be sure to maintain a file of supporting documentation, so you can make sure you can prove what happened and show that you are a victim of this illegal behavior.
Free Case Evaluation
If you believe that you have been a victim of sexual harassment while working remotely, you should speak with an employment law attorney who handles workplace sexual harassment claims.
Some attorneys take cases on a contingency basis while others require a retainer and charge an hourly rate. Be sure to go over the payment process when you speak with an employment law attorney.
There is a statute of limitations for pursuing a claim, so complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share your details with an attorney who handles such work-related claims in your area. Do not wait until it is too late to get a workplace sexual harassment claim underway.