When you think of cyberbullying and harassment, you may think of teens and young adults as the victims. After all, technology use has made internet harassment easier. While 70% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have been the target of cyber harassment, cyberbullying is also common in the workplace among older workers.
Cyber harassment, by definition, involves harassing or threatening behavior directed toward an individual. Instead of traditional stalking, which is done in person, the harassing in this case is done online via technology, and may include texts, emails, chats, and social media posts. Cyber harassment can take on many forms like sexual harassment, racism, and other forms of discrimination and prejudices.
Harassment in social media, texts, emails, and online chats can be hurtful to people of all ages and in all situations. Bullying does not end after one graduates from high school. It often continues on in the workplace. It is more pervasive than you think, with a whopping 6.5 million workers affected by cyberbullying. In many cases, the bullying is so severe that it leads to suicide.
Effects of Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying is much more than teasing. It causes the victims to become affected neurologically. They experience increased stress and tension. It damages a person psychologically and physically. Many quit their jobs and some even end their lives.
It is in a company’s best interest to prevent cyber bullying, given that it negatively impacts employee morale. Employees do not feel loyal to their company, as trust and teamwork are no longer existent once a company ignores bullying in the workplace.
Workplace bullying is a huge problem, with companies losing $300 billion a year due to its effects. Mental health absences account for most of this amount.
Fortunately, human resources departments can help by informing employees about what is considered acceptable and not acceptable behavior. There should be punishment in place to reprimand the bullies as well as support services for the victims. Victims should not be scared to speak out.
Online Harassment Laws
Even though cyber harassment occurs online, it is not taken lightly. New York considers this to be cyberstalking, which is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. A person accused of cyber harassment can be fined up to $5,000. They may also be ordered to spend one year in jail and do community service. Probation may also be an option. Given that the harassment occurs online, the victim can easily compile all the evidence needed to bring out such a criminal charge.
Contact a New York Employment Law Attorney
Working a 9-5 job is hard enough. You should not have to be subject to bullying and harassment from coworkers. If the conditions are making it difficult for you to focus on your work, and management has done nothing to help, then it is time to seek legal help.
The experienced New York employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help you understand the law and your legal rights. Under New York law, your employer can be held liable for workplace harassment. We can assess the evidence and hold the offender liable of his or her actions. Call our office at (800) 240-9269 to schedule a free consultation.