Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace has not gone away during the pandemic. Workplaces and workers are still impacted by sexual harassment and should know how to spot it in this new environment and how they are protected against it.
Workplace protections against sexual harassment
Just as workplace sexual harassment has not gone away, the protections for victims have not gone away either. With an increasing number of workers working remotely during the pandemic, sexual harassment has taken on some new online forms. Many workers are still in their workplaces, however, and may also be experiencing sexual harassment and in need of protections. The age of remote work has led to a decreased likelihood that bystanders can intervene and may also be leading to a decrease in reporting. That is not to say that sexual harassment is not going on but only that it may not be reported with the same frequency.
In some ways, remote work in the virtual setting has made workplaces more relaxed or casual which can also lead to inappropriate behaviors including sexual harassment. The line that may once have existed between work and home can also be blurred for workers unaccustomed to working from their living rooms.
It is important to keep in mind that sexual harassment remains prohibited whether it is in a virtual or in-person workplace and employment law is an area of the law in place to help victims and workers. Victims should be familiar with how they can make a sexual harassment claim if it is happening to them.