Due to the pandemic and the increase in the need to stay home, many companies are allowing employees to work from their home offices. Although this can seem like a safe situation to avoid workplace sexual harassment, you might be surprised that this type of behavior is just as possible as when you work from home as in the actual workplace. Here are some things you should know about sexual harassment while you work from home:

What Is Virtual Sexual Harassment?

Just like it sounds, virtual sexual harassment is sexual harassment that happens when you work remotely. The harassment can occur through the use of a variety of online tools. Even though you are not within physical distance, a co-worker can still make sexual advances through video conference, emails, texts, phone calls, and the like. Sexual harassment can be traumatic no matter the form it happens, and you need to take it seriously to get it to stop.

Why Is Virtual Sexual Harassment Prolific?

Sexual harassment while working from a remote location may be even more prolific than when you are physically in your workplace. This is due to several factors. For one instance, the person who is harassing you may feel more confident in doing so because you are behind screens or phones. This may cause the person harassing you to feel a sense of safety or even a boost to his or her confidence, similar to what you may see on social media accounts. It is not uncommon to see someone make a post about something he or she may not have the confidence to say in person.

Another factor is the fact that the person engaging in sexual harassment may be more comfortable due possibly to having better access to alcohol or other substances that lowers inhibitions. Other times, the aggressor may think his or her behavior is funny or is meant in a joking manner. No matter what, however, any type of sexual harassment is not healthy and is not allowed in the workplace.

What Can You Do?

No matter where you are working from, whether you are in your office or at home, sexual harassment is still punishable by law. You have legal options if you choose to file a lawsuit. You may first want to bring the harassment to the attention of your boss or your human resources department first. If your superiors do not take steps to stop the behavior, you should consider a consultation with an employment lawyer to discuss your options.