What Does Harassment Look Like in a Remote Workplace? By Gregory Thyberg on October 01, 2023

remote workerEmployment laws state that every worker has the right to a safe workplace free of harassment. Workplace harassment is a type of employment discrimination that can take several forms. Often people think of harassment as overt physical contact or other unwanted physical advances. However, harassment does not have to be physical, nor does it have to occur in person.

Even as more employers adopt a remote workplace, harassment remains a problem. Workplace harassment lawyer Gregory Thyberg helps Sacramento, CA, workers understand what harassment looks like in a remote workplace so they know when to take appropriate legal action.

Online Communication

Online communication is the most common form of harassment in the remote workplace. When employees communicate via email, texts, or direct messages, they tend to be more informal. However, any work communication should maintain a professional tone. Common examples of harassment via online communication include:

  • Sharing or telling offensive or derogatory jokes 
  • Using racial slurs
  • Making sexist comments or remarks
  • Making sexual advances or quid pro quo suggestions
  • Making comments about a person’s religious or spiritual beliefs
  • Aggressive expressions of anger or bullying-like comments
  • Making threats

Fortunately, harassment in online communication is easy to prove since emails, texts, and direct messages can be documented.

Sharing Inappropriate Material

Online communication often goes beyond written messages. Employees and employers frequently share memes, photos, and other images. However, shared material is not always appropriate for the workplace. Sharing inappropriate material such as sexually or racially charged memes, videos or photos of a sexual nature, or other offensive images is a form of harassment.

Displaying Offensive Material

Harassment in a remote or virtual workplace is not always as overt as written communication. Many remote workers in the Sacramento area are subject to displays of offensive material. When attending online meetings or conferences, workers should be aware of their surroundings. Purposeful displays of offensive material or any type of display that would be inappropriate in an onsite workplace could be considered workplace harassment. Making offensive gestures during a virtual meeting is another form of harassment.

Wearing Offensive Clothing

Just as it is inappropriate to have offensive materials on display in the background of a virtual meeting, it is unprofessional to wear clothing that could be offensive to coworkers. Purposefully wearing clothing with sexual messaging or images, discriminatory messaging or images, or generally offensive material is a form of harassment in a remote workplace.

What Can I Do About Harassment in a Remote Workplace?

Sacramento employees who work remotely are protected by the same laws as employees who work onsite. There is no excuse for any worker to be subject to workplace harassment or discrimination. 

Victims of harassment in a remote workplace should immediately ask the perpetrator to stop the harassment. Continued harassment should be reported to the employer’s human resources department and a complaint should be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as soon as possible. We also advise contacting a workplace harassment attorney, such as Gregory Thyberg, to discuss legal options.

Contact Us

If you have been subject to harassment or discrimination at work, you may be due financial compensation for related damages. To discuss your situation with workplace harassment lawyer Gregory Thyberg, contact our law firm online and request a case review at your earliest convenience.

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Thyberg Law

Since 1981, Gregory A. Thyberg has been providing legal services to clients throughout Sacramento. With a focus on employment law, he can help you find a solution when facing discrimination, harassment, or other workplace injustices. Mr. Thyberg is affiliated with organizations like the:

  • California Bar Association
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association

If you're experiencing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, request a consultation with Mr. Thyberg or call (916) 204-9173.

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