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Can sexual harassment happen online?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2022 | Sexual Harassment |

Despite years of sensitization campaigns, sexual harassment remains a very pervasive problem in most California workplaces. If someone makes inappropriate advances or inappropriate remarks that are sexual in nature within the workplace setting, you may pursue them for sexual harassment damages. 

While most sexual harassment practices happen within the workplace setting, it is not uncommon for this practice to happen off work. In fact, you can be sexually harassed online:

Understanding how online sexual harassment happens

Web-based sexual harassment is just as offensive and illegal as in-person harassment. Even though it does not involve face-to-face interactions between the victim and the perpetrator, this form of sexual harassment can still greatly impact the victim’s emotional well-being and affect their productivity. 

Online sexual harassment can happen through emails, social networking sites and other electronic messaging systems and can take any of the following forms:

  • Sending sexually explicit content to the victim – sending unsolicited sexually explicit content (messages, videos, photos and website links) can constitute sexual harassment. 
  • Posting sexually explicit content about the target victim – “revenge porn” has become a very common form of sexual harassment. Basically, this happens when someone you once had a sexual relationship (a co-worker, perhaps) with posts sexually inappropriate content like your nudes about you online. 

What you need to do if you are sexually harassed online

If you are a victim of work-related online sexual harassment, you need to seek justice. You can file a claim at the state or federal level. If you are filing your claim with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), then you will have one year to act. However, if you are filing your suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), then you will need to file the claim within six months. 

Whether intentional or not, sexual harassment can be detrimental to the target victim as well as the organization at large. It may be important to find out how you could protect your rights while litigating a sexual harassment claim in California

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