Because of the pandemic, more people are working from home. Rather than reporting to the office, employers are allowing workers to set up home offices and to perform work duties via Internet.
This means meetings are held virtually via Zoom, Skype, or some other platform. Despite workers not being physically in the office, sexual harassment is still occurring while on the job.
Here are some tips for filing a sexual harassment claim if you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment while working remotely.
Tips For Filing A Claim For Virtual Sexual Harassment
Workplace sexual harassment remains a problem even for those who are working remotely. This inappropriate behavior can take place via messages, texts, or through online meetings.
You need to know what to do so you can have a successful claim. You should make sure you maintain a file of supporting evidence and documentation that you can use to back up your claim and to prove what happened.
- If you receive any inappropriate messages, be sure to get screenshots. These screenshots can be printed and will back up your claims. They will show what was said, what images were sent, or other specifics about the incidents that you endured. Emails, texts, messages that were sent via instant messenger, screenshots from meetings, recordings, and witness statements can all help your claim.
- Keep a long on your computer that shows communication. It should show the date, time, and parties involved.
- If any inappropriate remarks were made during meetings, get statements from any witnesses. As an example, if you were in a group meeting on Zoom and a supervisor made an inappropriate comment or unwanted advance the others in the meeting would have also seen and heard what happened. Witness statements can be beneficial.
- Ask the individual to stop their behavior and be sure to document it whether it is recording your request or getting a screenshot of your request.
- Gather supporting documents, such as your employment contract and employee handbook. Any other work-related documents that refer to your employment and workplace policies and procedures can also support your claim.
Review your employee handbook to determine the procedure for filing a sexual harassment claim with your employer. You should notify your employer in writing by contacting the human resources (HR) department and provide them with copies of supporting evidence.
You should keep documentation that confirms you filed a claim and be sure to maintain copies of any correspondence that you receive regarding your claim. Always document everything, so keep a journal detailing what was said as well as any response.
If the matter is not resolved, take your evidence to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate your claim at no charge and work to resolve the matter.
If they find a pattern of such behavior with your employer or find they intentionally broke the law, your employer could face criminal penalties as well.
The last step would be that if the matter does not get resolved is to file a lawsuit against your employer.
You will need to ask to be compensated for all the damages you incurred, such as lost wages, lost benefits, mental anguish, emotional distress, and so forth. The judge or jury will decide the outcome of your claim at that point.
Get a Free Case Evaluation Today
If 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. With the help of a lawyer, you are more likely to have a successful claim and recoup compensation for your damages.
When you talk with a lawyer, discuss their payment options. Some employment law attorneys take cases on a contingency basis while others charge a retainer and work for an hourly rate.
There is a statute of limitations – which is a time limit – for pursuing a sexual harassment claim. You should gather your evidence and speak with an attorney as quickly as possible.
Your lawyer will also investigate your claim and help gather any additional evidence or documentation that your claim may need. Your attorney can also determine your damages or losses from the incident.
If you were sexually harassed on the job while working remotely, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details surrounding your claim with a sexual harassment lawyer in your area.