Thanks to the pandemic, millions of California residents spent at least some time during the past year working from home. While technology allowed us all to keep working even though we were physically distanced, it also allowed workplace harassment to flourish.
In fact, workplace harassment became worse than ever at some companies as people used virtual communication methods to say or send stuff they would never do in person. The Rankin Law Firm is working hard to shut down online workplace harassment and hold those who have created hostile work environments accountable.
Harassment Has Followed Workers Home
Companies have embraced remote work like never before. Many California companies have indicated they intend to keep remote work policies in place in the long term. Unfortunately, workplace harassment has followed workers online.
The Rankin Law Firm has seen an uptick in the number of employees who report:
- Offensive jokes being emailed to them
- Insults, slurs, and name-calling in virtual chats
- Intimidation, ridicule, and mockery over video calls
- Sexually suggestive pictures and video being sent to their work accounts; and
- Discussion of sexual activities.
It seems people are less guarded with their speech and actions while working online than they would be in the office. The pandemic is also putting stress on people and causing them to act out, but that is not an excuse for workplace harassment.
If you have experienced something similar to an item on this list, you should make a note of it, and watch out for anything that suggests your workplace condones or encourages this sort of behavior. Unfortunately, you typically have to show a pattern of abuse in order to file a lawsuit unless what happened to you was incredibly egregious. Repeated abuse shows that your workplace is hostile.
What Is A Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment is one in which unwelcome conduct or comments by supervisors or coworkers make it difficult or impossible for you to do your job. But even that may not be illegal. In order to bring a successful lawsuit, you must be able to prove the conduct or comments were motivated by a legally protected characteristic or status.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and other state and federal laws protect people from harassment related to:
- Religious creed
- National origin
- Physical disability
- Mental disability
- Medical condition
- Genetic information
- Marital status
- Gender identity
- Gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Military/veteran status
If you feel like you are being harassed because you belong to one of these groups, The Rankin Law Firm is here for you. We are ready to listen to your story and discuss your legal options.
The Road To Your Employment Rights Starts Here
Nobody should dread going into the office and facing harassment, particularly when your office may be at your kitchen table. Don’t minimize or excuse the harassment you have endured just because it didn’t occur in person. Contact The Rankin Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.