Can sexual harassment still happen while working from home?

Your office, like many others, might have transitioned to remote work due to the current health crisis. If your colleagues or supervisor sexually harassed you at your workplace, you might have seen this change as a silver lining. Likely, you thought that working from home would give them fewer opportunities to do so. Yet, thanks to technology, harassment can happen anywhere. It is important, then, to understand how you could experience sexual harassment while working from home and what you can do about it.

Spotting the signs of sexual harassment

Working from home may decrease or eliminate certain types of sexual harassment. Most of these behaviors, though, relate to unwelcome touch. If your supervisor or a colleague has committed physical sexual harassment against you, they may shift to other forms that they can engage in over chat apps, emails or video calls. You can experience sexual harassment through these mediums if:

  • Your supervisor or colleagues share images or videos of a sexual nature
  • Your supervisor or colleagues expose themselves
  • Your supervisor or colleagues make sexual jokes to or about you
  • Your supervisor or colleagues make suggestive comments about you or your appearance
  • Your supervisor propositions you with the promise of incentive or as a condition to your employment

Reporting sexual harassment

You may find that you have an easier time reporting workplace sexual harassment when it happens online. Gathering physical evidence of the harassment can be difficult if it took place in the office. Yet, you can take screenshots of any harassing chats or emails sent to you by a colleague or supervisor. Furthermore, you can record any video calls or conversations where you were sexually harassed. By documenting this information, you will have evidence supporting you when making a complaint. Depending on your employer’s policies, you will either make it to your supervisor – unless they are your harasser – or a human resources representative.

Keep in mind that your employer may dismiss or fail to investigate your sexual harassment complaint. In these cases, you will want to file a discrimination complaint through the Texas Workforce Commission. You also have the option to take legal action against your employer, which may make sense depending on the severity of the harassment.

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