In many cases of sexual harassment, it occurs between two people who work closely together and know each other fairly well. Maybe one person is a supervisor and the other person is their secretary, or maybe both people are co-workers who are at the same level. Either way, they are familiar with each other and this leads to the harassment.
But what about the co-workers that you’ve never talked to? Maybe you work at a big company and you just don’t interact with everyone on a day-to-day basis. You only see each other at big company-wide events and things of this nature. Could you still face sexual harassment from someone like that?
The internet makes it easier than ever
You certainly could, and one way that this can happen is online. The internet has made it easier for people to harass those that they are not physically around. At any time, someone could:
- Make comments on your social media profiles
- Send you explicit pictures or comments via direct message
- Send you text messages if they get your number from a work directory
- Send explicit emails, either to your company email or your personal email
In other words, there are a lot of ways that people can still contact you, even if you don’t see them. This can lead to harassment and it can certainly create a hostile working environment.
This type of harassment may be different
In-person harassment is much more likely to become physical. It could be a boss asking for sexual favors after everyone else has gone home from the office, for example, or it could be unwanted touching from a co-worker who claims that they didn’t mean to do anything wrong.
With that in mind, online harassment that focuses on digital forms can be a bit different. This can make it harder to stop, but it also means that you have far more evidence that the harassment actually occurred. You can gather up this evidence, whether that means taking screenshots or archiving email messages, as you begin to look into all of your legal options.