Sexual harassment does not just occur in physical office spaces. Sexual harassment in the remote workplace is a troubling problem that affects numerous employees, and it is becoming a significant concern for more California workers.
While remote jobs provide a flexible work environment, they have, unfortunately, also opened new avenues for perpetrators to harass employees. Inappropriate messages, unsolicited advances, and other forms of harassment have found new platforms through digital and video mediums. Given this shift in workplace dynamics, workers need to know how to identify, document, and report instances of sexual harassment in the remote work environment. Contact us today to speak with a California sexual harassment lawyer!
What Is Sexual Harassment in the Remote Workplace?
Remote job sexual harassment can be subtle. Worse, employers may dismiss or overlook it because the perpetrator is not physically present. It can also occur in numerous less apparent ways. However, just like in-office sexual harassment, remote harassment generally involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other sexual verbal or physical conduct.
Here are some common examples:
- Inappropriate comments or jokes about an employee’s appearance, clothing, or personal life during virtual meetings or conversations;
- Unwanted advances or requests for sexual favors through video calls, email, or messaging apps;
- Attempting to manipulate an employee into performing sexual acts in exchange for job benefits or threats of negative job consequences;
- Unwanted discussions, such as bringing up intimate or private topics unrelated to work;
- Sharing explicit content, such as images or videos via email, without consent;
- Creating a hostile work environment by regularly instigating sexual discussions or by making innuendos during remote work interactions; and
- Obsessively checking an employee’s status, location, or online presence without a valid reason and other forms of digital stalking.
If you are unsure whether you are experiencing remote job sexual harassment, speaking with an experienced employment attorney can help. One of our compassionate employment advocates at King & Siegel can review your situation, offer guidance, and protect your remote workplace rights.
What Evidence Proves Sexual Harassment in the Remote Workplace?
Collecting evidence is crucial to building a strong sexual harassment case. The following are examples of evidence that can help support your claim:
- Documentation—save all communications, offensive emails, chat logs, screenshots of messages, or any other digital evidence that contains inappropriate content or establishes a pattern of harassment;
- Records—note down dates, times, and details of every inappropriate incident;
- Witnesses—if there were any witnesses to the harassment, gather their contact information;
- Company policies—company policies about sexual harassment can support your claim if your company fails to follow its directives;
- Journaling—write everything down, including details about what was said or done and how it made you feel.
A compassionate attorney at King & Siegel can also advise you on the best evidence to support your case and help you collect items that may be harder to gather.
How Do I Report Remote Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits workplace sexual harassment and affords remote workers the same rights as employees working in a more traditional environment. It is also important to remember that retaliation is illegal. Under California law, employers cannot retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment.
If you are facing harassment, follow these steps:
- Review company policy. Check your employer’s sexual harassment policies and procedures, and if you can, follow them.
- Contact human resources. If you feel safe doing so, reach out to the person responsible for handling your company’s harassment grievances and provide your complaint and evidence.
- Keep records. Document the content, date, and time you made your report, including the names of the people you spoke to.
- File a complaint. If internal channels don’t yield results, you can file a written complaint with the California Civil Rights Department or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If you don’t feel comfortable contacting HR, need help filing a complaint, or want to pursue a lawsuit against your harasser, an experienced attorney can help. Remember that depending on which agency you decide to file with, you must also submit your complaint within a certain period. An employment attorney can help you file a complaint promptly and ensure your paperwork meets all deadlines.
King & Siegel LLP Your Workplace Rights Advocates
At King & Siegel, we champion the rights of remote employees. Regardless of whether you work in an office or at home, you do not have to face sexual harassment on your own. Our skilled team of lawyers have been recognized as Rising Stars by Super Lawyers, boasts impeccable AVVO ratings, and has secured nearly $15 million for clients. We aim to provide compassionate, efficient, and top-tier legal assistance and will work tirelessly to help you achieve justice. Contact us now for a complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let us help you seek the resolution you deserve.