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What to Know About Internet Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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Sexual harassment can take many, many different forms. It is far more than the stereotype of a boss offering a raise or promotion to an employee in exchange for a sexual relationship, though this type of behavior certainly does occur, and it is sexual harassment. Often, sexual harassment occurs in more subtle ways, such as exposing an individual to sexually charged images or videos. This type of sexual harassment can go unnoticed, which can make the victim feel isolated and unable to seek help from the company to stop it.

In the workplace, sexual harassment can occur in electronic communication, such as emails, intracompany messaging systems, and harassment conducted over video messaging systems like Skype. When sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, it is workplace harassment subject to the laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and grounds for a sexual harassment claim. This is true even when the harassment occurs in an online “public space” like social media.

Report Online Harassment

If you feel uncomfortable at work because of the sexual comments others make about your body, the way you are objectified, catcalled, or humiliated, or if you are subjected to crude, sexually explicit or suggestive images, videos, or text, you are a sexual harassment victim. Other forms of sexual harassment include invasive questions about your romantic and sexual life, your sexual preferences, and offers of favorable treatment in exchange for sexual contact.

When sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, report it to your supervisor and your company’s Human Resources department. Screenshot, print, and save all evidence of the online harassment you face to support your claim. If you cannot resolve the issue within your company, you will need to present this evidence to support a harassment claim with the EEOC.

Talk to an experienced lawyer about your experience before going to the EEOC with your claim. Your lawyer can help you navigate the sexual harassment claim process and help you understand issues specifically related to your case, such as whether you can claim any compensation you receive for your damages as taxable income.

Social Media Harassment Laws

Social media is a significant part of our lives. Many companies incorporate guidelines for appropriate social media use in and out of the office in their employee codes of conduct. Even if your company does not have such guidelines in its employee handbook, you can cite the harassment you face on social media platforms as workplace sexual harassment if the comments were related to the workplace in some form. For example, a coworker’s sexual harassment over social media that caused you to suffer psychological trauma at work may be cited as a type of workplace sexual harassment.

Work with an Experienced New York Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you are facing sexual harassment online or face-to-face in your workplace, you have the right to take legal action by filing a sexual harassment claim with an experienced employment lawyer. To learn more about this process, your rights, and the potential outcomes for your case, contact our team at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. today and call (347)-464-8694 to schedule your initial consultation with us.

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