How Social Media Can Play a Role in Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant problem, and social media can often worsen it. Employees who are sexually harassed often feel powerless and alone, but speaking up about what happened to you can help empower other victims to do the same.
Defining Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment is a far too common form of discrimination that can be hard to recognize and lead to severe consequences in the workplace. This action involves any unwanted behavior of a sexual nature that creates a hostile or intimidating work environment. Unwelcome touching or physical contact are two types of sexual harassment. For situations to be considered sexual harassment, they must be severe or pervasive enough to create an uncomfortable working environment and often detrimental to productivity.
Unfortunately, this type of discrimination still occurs far too frequently in our society today, and now, with technological advances, it can even continue on social media.
How Social Media Can be Used to Perpetrate Sexual Harassment
Nowadays, using social media to continue harassment outside work is far too common. Harassers may send inappropriate messages, post humiliating photos or videos, threaten to share personal information, or use stalking behaviors to create an unsafe atmosphere. Such actions are highly damaging and intimidating, creating shame and threatening victims with public humiliation and career consequences.
The line between consensual flirting and sexual harassment is often thin, and the consequences of online harassment can be far-reaching and lasting. Victims of online sexual harassment need to know they are not alone — they should find an individual or people they feel comfortable with and report such cases immediately.
Differences Between Online Sexual Harassment From a Co-Worker and In-Person Sexual Harassment From a Co-Worker
When it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s important to remember that there are different forms of this behavior – both online and offline. Online sexual harassment from a co-worker can take many forms, such as:
Sending inappropriate messages or emails;
Using social media as a tool for stalking or harassing another individual;
Posting humiliating photos or videos;
Threatening to share personal information; or,
Sharing explicit images without consent.
In-person sexual harassment from a co-worker can include:
Making unwelcome advances;
Inappropriate comments about an individual’s body or appearance;
Using demeaning language based on gender or sexuality, sexual jokes; and,
Other forms of misconduct perpetuated by someone with power over another individual.
Both forms of sexual harassment are serious violations of a person’s rights and must be addressed to ensure that everyone feels safe and respected at work.
How to Best Deal with Sexual Harassment on Social Media
Experiencing sexual harassment can be difficult and embarrassing, and having it spread to social media platforms can often make it worse. If you are the victim of sexual harassment online, the best thing you can do is:
Seek professional support from a trusted person or a counseling service to help process any emotional pain you might have; and,
Block the individual making the abusive comments.
It is also essential to preserve all comments, screenshots, etc., that the perpetrator makes for legal reference as applicable.
Leading the Fight for Employee Rights
If you are enduring sexual harassment at work and social media exacerbates the situation, you should reach out to an experienced employment attorney. It can be an incredibly distressing experience, so do not hesitate to contact Southern California Labor Law Group PC. Our dedicated team will help defend your rights and provide guidance for further steps, such as filing a complaint or lawsuit.
You deserve justice in this unfortunate situation, so don’t be afraid to seek help. Reach out to our Los Angeles employment lawyers online or by phone to get started: (424) 306-1515.