In the age of digital work and virtual commutes, many problems associated with in-person work environments have fallen by the wayside. At the same time, new problems crop up along with new environments, and this is no exception.
Harassment is one of those issues that persists despite the changing environments. It simply alters itself to match the new circumstances.
Exclusion and harassment of workers
The New York Times discusses what workplace harassment looks like in the new age of remote work. Generally speaking, the targeted harassment of workers will happen via “private” or closed networks of communication, like direct messages or group chats between employees. It is important for employers to monitor all networks available to workers to ensure these sorts of divisions do not form.
New manifestations of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment also largely stays the same, which some may find surprising due to the false conflation that sexual harassment always takes a physical form. Unfortunately for victims everywhere, this is the form of sexual harassment that gets the most media attention, but it is not the most common type by far.
Sexual harassment may manifest in different ways digitally, though. For example, many harassers take advantage of the ability to send photographs or videos in order to expose themselves on camera to their victims. They may also utilize private messaging systems to attempt engagement in sexual conversations with an unwilling recipient.
It is also possible for coercion or threats to occur even in this environment, as the harasser may demand sexual conversation or images in exchange for promotions or to avoid demotions.
The penalties for harassment remain the same regardless of the environment they occur in, though. Thus, employees facing digital harassment have options for pursuing compensation.