Has Remote Work Impacted Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Has Remote Work Impacted Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is one of the most common types of discrimination. Unfortunately, the shift towards remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has done little to keep it from happening. While workers in some jobs may have less in-person contact, they are still just as likely to be impacted by sexual harassment. You have the same rights as any worker in filing a complaint and your employer is legally obligated to respond. 

Sexual Harassment Increasing Common Among Online Workers

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-home orders prompted many companies to encourage their employees to work from home. Now that businesses have reopened, remote work continues to be a strong trend. While this avoids some of the overhead and many of the issues workers face when appearing in person, it does not appear to be putting a dent in discrimination, particularly when it comes to sexual harassment. 

According to a July 2021 Biz Journals report, roughly 25% of remote workers have experienced unwelcome sexual behavior and other forms of sexual harassment online, either via email, Zoom, or other platforms. This includes: 

  • Making sexual advances;
  • Requiring sexual favors in return for certain perks or as a condition of keeping your job or remaining online;
  • Making sexually suggestive comments;
  • Posting sexually suggestive materials;
  • Making generally disparaging comments about someone’s gender or sexual preference. 

Putting a Stop to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advises that sexual harassment affects both men and women and can be perpetrated by co-workers, supervisors, people who work in other departments, or even clients and customers. If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace, you are encouraged to report it immediately to a manager, human resources, or owner of the company. 

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal for employers to allow anyone to be sexually harassed by anyone on the job. It is also illegal to take any type of retaliatory action against someone who reported being sexually harassed in the workplace. As a remote worker, you have the same rights as any employee in filing a complaint. If your employer fails to respond or retaliates against you, you may be entitled to seek compensation for lost income, lost career opportunities, mental anguish, and other damages you suffer. 

Our Chicago Sexual Harassment Attorney is Here to Help

If you are dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace or as a remote worker, contact our Chicago sexual harassment attorney. We act as a strong legal advocate on your behalf, protecting your rights in filing a claim. To discuss your options and how we can help, request a confidential consultation with The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline today.