In an age when more white-collar employees in California are working from home than ever before, you might expect that one benefit would be a reduction in sexual harassment. The traditional harassment methods — staring at the victim, making suggestive remarks about their clothing or appearance, proposing or demanding sexual favors — would seem to be much more difficult, if not impossible, to commit outside of a communal office setting.
But the technology that makes remote work possible also keeps us exposed to potential sexual harassment from executives, managers and coworkers. Harassers can still reach us by email, voice mail, instant message, video chat, telephone and text message. The fact that you work full-time out of your home office will not necessarily protect you.
More than a third of remote workers report harassment
The evidence is growing that sexual harassment is still a huge problem, even for companies that let their employees work from home for part or all of the week. According to a report released in 2022, 38 percent of remote workers said they still experienced sexual harassment on the job. Some of the workers surveyed said that harassment had gotten worse since they started working from home. It could be that being away from witnesses who might get them in trouble has emboldened harassers.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is never acceptable, whether your workplace is a large office, an assembly line or your kitchen table. If this is happening to you, you should weigh your legal options carefully. You could be entitled to substantial compensation for the damage to your career and the emotional trauma you have suffered.