Digital Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can happen to anyone. Both men and women can be perpetrators and victims of unwanted sexual attention or remarks. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By law, employers must respond to and investigate allegations of sexual harassment thoroughly. This does not only apply to harassment which takes place in person. As online interactions, text messaging, email, and social media becomes more and more a part of our everyday life, more and more sexual harassment is occurring digitally. Everyone deserves to be free from sexual harassment at work.
Online Sexual Harassment Can Be Just as Destructive as In-Person Harassment
Traditionally, sexual harassment has consisted of inappropriate and demeaning remarks or behavior at work. However, as digital communication becomes more and more prevalent in workplaces, digital sexual harassment becomes more common. Digital sexual harassment can include sexually-charged or discriminating emails, text messages, forum threads, and social media posts. In Owens v. Morgan Stanley & Co., a New York district court ruled that unchecked offensive e-mail circulating within the workplace could constitute sexual harassment. However, a single inappropriate e-mail is not enough to establish a sexual harassment claim. In Strauss v. Microsoft Corp., the district court deemed jokes and sexual parodies e-mailed by a manager to employees, were evidence of sexual harassment.
What to Do if You Have Experienced Sexual Harassment
Everyone deserves to be treated with respect at work. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, do not hesitate to take action. Your first step should be to start recording instances of harassment. Keeping a sexual harassment log is often the difference between winning a sexual harassment lawsuit and losing one. If you have not already done so, report the harassment according to the procedure outlined in your employee handbook. If your employer does not address the harassment, you may have a claim for compensation. If you reported sexual harassment or discrimination to your employer and were fired as a result, you may have a valid wrongful termination claim.
Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Sexual Harassment Attorney
Workers should never have to tolerate sexual harassment. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact an experienced DuPage County sexual harassment and employment discrimination lawyer. To schedule a consultation at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, call 630-665-7300 today.