What is Virtual Sexual Harassment?

Woman experiencing virtual sexual harassment hiding her face in her hands in front of her laptop.

Virtual sexual harassment, also known as online sexual harassment, refers to inappropriate and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that occurs in virtual or digital environments. Virtual sexual harassment can interfere with your work and give rise to a hostile work environment. 

This type of harassment takes place through digital communication channels and online platforms. 

Virtual sexual harassment can manifest in various forms. It’s important to be aware of these behaviors to address and prevent them.

Some examples include:

  1. Unwanted Sexual Comments or Advances: Sending explicit or suggestive messages, comments, or images through text, email, messaging apps, or social media platforms without the employee’s consent.
  2. Cyberflashing: Sending unsolicited explicit images or videos to an employee without their consent, often through private messages or social media platforms.
  3. Online Stalking: Using online platforms to stalk, monitor, or excessively follow an employee, creating an atmosphere of discomfort or fear.
  4. Harassing or Abusive Emails: Sending emails with sexually explicit content, threats, or offensive language to intimidate or harass the employee.
  5. Sexual Coercion in Virtual Spaces: Using virtual spaces such as online forums, chatrooms, or message boards to pressure or coerce an employee into engaging in sexual activities or discussions.
  6. Inappropriate Comments in Virtual Meetings: Making sexual comments, jokes, or gestures during virtual meetings, Zoom, or video conferences, creating a hostile or uncomfortable work environment.
  7. Revenge Porn: Sharing explicit images or videos of an employee without their consent, often with the intent to harm or embarrass them.
  8. Online Harassment on Social Media: Harassing an employee through comments, direct messages, or posts on social media platforms with content of a sexual nature.

Virtual sexual harassment has real-world consequences; employees experiencing such harassment may feel violated, unsafe, or unable to perform their work. 

Before you take any action, speak with an experienced employment law attorney. The attorneys at the Maura Greene Law Group can help identify and explain your rights and options. 

Contact an attorney before you take any action so that you do not negatively impact your potential claims or damages. 

Contact the Maura Greene Law Group if you are being virtually sexually harassed. We can help you understand your rights and options.

Contact us at 617-936-1580 or email us at [email protected] 

We see patterns in our practice, like the ones described above. However, every case has its own unique facts. Before you take any action, you should contact an employment lawyer and get advice on your own situation. We can’t provide legal advice here and this isn’t intended as legal advice. It is best, if possible, to establish a relationship with an attorney before a workplace issue turns into a crisis. Employees who have received a verbal or written warning or performance improvement plan should contact counsel now. Ditto for employees who are seeing their doctor for workplace-related stress or anxiety.