How social media has changed sexual harassment

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Posted by Legal Team On April 7, 2017

Social media has made communication easier in many ways. It has connected people in new ways and changed how and when they interact. However, it has also changed how sexual harassment happens in the workplace.

For one thing, people who work together will often connect on social media and develop a casual relationship. In the past, a boss and his or her employees may never have spoken after work, but now it’s easier than ever to see what people are doing, exchange quick comments and get to know each other in a relaxed way that perhaps doesn’t exist in the workplace.

This could make it more likely that sexual harassment will occur because some of the cold professionalism of the workplace is gone.

Of course, there are also issues with social media itself — and other online interactions — that didn’t exist a few decades ago. People may feel more emboldened by the distance that the Internet seems to create.

For example, one female worker said that she got a message from a male coworker. It came late at night, with no warning, and he allegedly told her to put her underwear on his desk.

Would workers be more restrained in person, during work hours, and never utter comments like that? Do they only feel like it’s a good idea because they’re not talking in person, but instead talking online?

These are important questions to ask in the digital age, and it’s also important for those who are harassed on the job — in person or online — to know about all of their legal rights.

Source: Cosmopolitan, “What Sexual Harassment at Work Really Looks Like,” Michelle Ruiz, accessed April 07, 2017