Many workers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area are now working from home. It is becoming more common for companies to offer remote positions, and with the current pandemic, it is becoming even more likely for workers to work from home and to hop on video conference calls from home. However, workplace harassment can still happen even if workers are not in an office.
Working through video calls, emails, phone calls, shared documents and more can make working away from the office easier. Still, it is important to remember that individuals should maintain a sense of decorum and professionalism even though the circumstances may have changed or do not fit a traditional work setting. This means that a person can still be held responsible for harassing actions made over the computer.
Sending suggestive or vulgar emails or instant messages, revealing intimate body parts over video chat, and many other actions could still constitute sexual harassment, even for remote workers. If individuals do face what they believe are harassing actions, they may want to look into their employee handbook to determine what procedures are available for filing a complaint. Regardless of whether there are any procedures, individuals should report the harassment to supervisors, other managers, and human resources. Even though individuals are not working in an office setting, repercussions can still exist for harassment.
Of course, victims of workplace harassment may have a difficult time proving that the actions occurred because there are likely fewer witnesses when working remotely. However, emails, text messages, recorded meetings and other documentation could act as evidence if a legal claim is made. In some cases, workers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area may need to take legal action if their managers do not handle their complaints appropriately.