Virtual sexual harassment has become a common form of workplace sexual harassment, especially since the workforce is more technologically savvy today than ever. Virtual sexual harassment is the sort of harassment that takes place via the Internet or by cell phone texting.
It could take the form of direct unsolicited messaging, emails or social media comments, including sexual innuendo, sexually explicit material or photos. It could also involve sending sexually explicit material or posting sexually explicit material about an employee online, e.g. through a workplace email server.
Sexual harassment of this kind, as well as sexual harassment of a more conventional nature, is illegal in U.S. workplaces. Both federal and state laws exist which prohibit sexual harassment.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment and have made an attempt to get it stopped without success, or are in a quid pro quo situation where your job or job benefits are in danger of being forfeited if you refuse to provide sexual favors to a supervisor, you should see an employment lawyer as soon as possible.
How to Handle Virtual Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can be a difficult problem to deal with. The EEOC has reported that over 75% of employees who have experienced some sort of sexual harassment at work probably do not attempt to do anything about it. Often the reason for this is a quid pro quo situation where a supervisor or someone in an immediate position of power to you suggests or demands sexual favors as a condition for job benefits or even the job itself.
The advice is that if the harassment is by a fellow co-worker, that you attempt to stop it by first confronting the person about the action and how it is unwelcome. If the pattern of behavior continues, you should then consult your workplace employment handbook.
There should be guidelines for you to follow if you have encountered sexual harassment by a co-worker. This might mean letting a supervisor know about what has been happening or someone in authority at your workplace. Follow the company procedure and make a full record of what has happened, who was involved and what you have done to stop it.
If you get nowhere and the behavior continues, or the type of harassment is a definite case of quid pro quo involving a boss or your employer, you will likely want to see an employment lawyer about your legal options. This might involve suing the harasser as an individual or your employer under state or federal sexual harassment legislation.
Make sure you collect as much evidence of the sort of harassment you have been experiencing. If this has been in the form of virtual harassment you will need proof of the messages, emails, unsolicited posts and photos that you have been subject to.
How an Employment Lawyer Can Help
It is not sensible to try and handle cases of virtual sexual harassment all by yourself, especially if it is by someone who has power over you at work. You should contact an employment lawyer when you have had no luck stopping the unwelcome behavior at work.
An employment lawyer will have dealt with cases like this before and will have the details of state and federal laws such as the Equal Rights Act Title VII at their fingertips. If the lawyer suggests filing a claim for damages against your employer or an individual employee who has been harassing you then he/she will represent you throughout the process and in court if it comes to that. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation available on this page today.