Sexual harassment has made headlines in recent years as workplaces across the country try to crack down on it. With the shift toward virtual and digital workplaces lately, some may think that a solution to sexual harassment has finally come to fruition.
But unfortunately, sexual harassment is still a major problem. In many ways, the new digital environment has actually caused the issue to worsen and grow.
The continuation of extortion and coercion
The New York Times covers the differences in some types of workplace discrimination now that many workplaces have shifted to virtual formats. With sexual harassment in particular, many forms of it can continue as they existed before with very little disturbance. For example, an employer can easily continue extorting their employee for sexual favors in exchange for promotions or at the threat of demotions. The mode of communication does little to change this.
New forms of harassment
At the same time, other forms of harassment have sprung up in response to the new workplace technology. Victims have reported their harassers posting lewd or revealing photographs and sending it via private message channel, or even exposing themselves on live video stream. Victims also often receive inappropriate private messages or links to sexually explicit content.
On the plus side, it is easier for victims to document these instances of harassment. A victim can simply take screenshots of the offending messages or images and collect it as evidence for any potential legal action.