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Survey: Working from home has opened new avenues of harassment

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2021 | Sexual Harassment |

In Kentucky, across the United States and all over the world, workplace harassment has been an increasing focus. A primary issue in the workplace has been sexual harassment. Despite more people being aware of the problem and giving employees who are subjected to it tools to address it, it is still a challenge. There has been an unexpected number of people claiming harassment even with remote work.

It was thought that when a growing number of people were forced to work remotely because of societal circumstances going back to early 2020, it would reduce the opportunity and incidences of this type of misbehavior. Unfortunately, a recent survey suggests that it has not only continued, but may have grown worse. People who are victimized must remember that they have rights regardless of whether they are working from home or on a job site. Having advice with a potential claim is critical.

One-quarter of respondents said online sexual harassment is a problem at work

In a survey by nonprofit The Purple Campaign which seeks to stamp out sexual harassment and the online training company TalentLMS, more than 25% of those who took part said they have dealt with sexual harassment online since regularly working from home. They faced these behaviors on multiple platforms not limited to work conferences. They came by way of text messages, emails and on internal communication programs.

Others have found similar types of behavior in their research. A former chief executive officer of Reddit who subsequently founded a nonprofit recently stated that harassment has gotten worse since lockdowns went into effect. Twenty-six percent of those who took part in a Project Include survey were confronted by harassment based on their gender; 23% of those 50 and older said they were discriminated against because of their age; and 10% said their ethnicity or gender led to biased treatment.

Any type of harassment can be addressed with professional help

Employers are advised to have policies in place to prevent employees from committing acts of sexual harassment and other forms of workplace wrongdoing while giving employees the tools to complain about this behavior without fear of reprisal. Still, there is bound to be some reluctance given the potential fallout from complaining about illegal workplace treatment.

Given the current societal situation and the way in which people’s lives have been radically changed, being mistreated at work can only make matters more difficult. Being forced to hear inappropriate comments, having co-workers, supervisors and owners touching a person when he or she does not consent to being touched, feeling threatened that complaining will make matters worse or cost them the job entirely are just some of the difficulties employees must navigate. For fear of losing their paycheck or hindering their chance at advancement, many might simply try to muddle along and ignore the behavior. After informing the employer what is happening and making sure it is documented, it is imperative that the victim have professional advice and understand other options to put a stop to it and be compensated for the harassment. Seeking guidance should be a priority.