As more workplaces shift their focus toward virtual environments, the culture of the workplace also gradually begins to see changes. While some of these changes have served as improvements that better the lives of workers, others continue negative trends seen before.
The ongoing problem of sexual harassment at work continues, for example. In fact, with digital tools at hand, harassers have more avenues to go after targets than before.
Examples of harassment
The New York Times discusses the ways harassment manifests in virtual environments. First, virtual methods of contact allow for harassers to target their victims in numerous different ways. For example, they could send lewd messages through email. They might include photo attachments of their genitals or other suggestive or lewd photographs. They could expose themselves on video, or send links to inappropriate sexual content such as pornographic videos.
They could also make threats or promises in exchange for sexual favors, which served as a common method of sexual harassment even before virtual workplaces grew in popularity. For example, they may demand a target expose themselves or risk getting fired or demoted. They might also try to bribe a target to do the same thing in exchange for a raise or promotion.
Fortunately, digital records provide a way for victims to collect evidence against their harassers. This makes it a little less difficult to take legal action in the event that a worker suffers harassment due to coworkers or bosses. Those who experience harassment in a virtual workplace should consider compiling this evidence and contacting legal aid to figure out their next move.