Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights
Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights

Addressing online harassment at work

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | Employment Law

Digital harassment in the workplace is more common than many people realize. It can happen through emails, social media, messaging apps and other online platforms. It’s not limited by geography or working hours, making it a persistent issue for many.

Recognizing the signs

Because people often expect harassment to be physical or verbal, digital harassment can catch people by surprise. Recognizing the signs can help people better understand how to address and stop it.

Some examples of this type of harassment include:

  • Unwanted messages: Sending repeated messages that are mean, disruptive or scary.
  • Online shaming: Spreading hurtful or embarrassing rumors or jokes about a person online.
  • Cyberstalking: Following someone’s online activities and making unwanted, inappropriate comments.
  • Inappropriate images: Sharing offensive pictures or videos through texts, emails or social media.

These interactions can make a worker feel scared, embarrassed or threatened in and outside of work.

Taking action

It’s crucial to recognize that harassment doesn’t need to be face-to-face to impact its targets significantly. Sexual harassment can hurt a person’s personal and professional well-being and cause stress, difficulty sleeping and depression.

As such, taking steps to stop harassment is key. Any worker who is a target of online harassment can take the following actions:

  • Speak up: Report the behavior to the HR department or a supervisor.
  • Document everything: Keep records of all interactions that constitute harassment.
  • Know about workers’ rights: Get familiar with company policies and Michigan laws regarding harassment.

If the behaviors continue or an employer fails to address the situation effectively, employees can talk to an attorney about taking legal action. Doing so can hold perpetrators accountable, call out systemic issues at a business and compensate victims for damages.

As we navigate our digital workspaces, it’s essential to stay vigilant and informed. Online harassment is a serious issue that can affect anyone, but with the right knowledge and actions, employees can protect themselves and maintain a healthy workplace.