Does online harassment count as sexual harassment?
Yes, online harassment can be considered sexual harassment. California’s employment laws protect workers from harassment even when it occurs online.
Not all sexual harassment involves face-to-face interactions between a worker and the harasser. Harassment can take place in a virtual setting, whether in a traditional office or a remote workplace.
Thanks to modern technology, a lot of work-related communication occurs over emails, messaging platforms, social media, video calls and other collaboration tools. Telling sexual jokes in a group chat, emailing pornographic photos to a coworker, sending vulgar messages or making inappropriate comments during a Zoom meeting are some examples of sexual harassment that may take place online.
One factor to note is that isolated off-color remarks or minor annoyances may not count as unlawful conduct. To have grounds for an online harassment claim, the offensive behavior must be severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment that any other reasonable employee would be unable to tolerate.
Discuss your situation with a San Francisco employment lawyer to determine if you have a sexual harassment case against your employer. Contact McCormack Law Firm to learn more.