What do hostile virtual work environments look like?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2022 | Employment Law |

Despite the increased awareness and spotlight on harassment at the workplace, hostile work environments continue to be an issue plaguing the modern work culture. Unfortunately, this has not changed even with the advent of work from home and virtual work environments.

But as with most things related to technology, harassment and hostility have changed forms in subtle ways to adapt to the new work environment. So what do these environments look like now?

Increased channels of communication causes problems

The New York Times looks into harassment in the modern age workplace and the ways it has changed. First, more avenues of communication often equate to more avenues that harassers can use to target their victims.

For example, workplaces have seen an increase in the use of work communication to send lewd or inappropriate photos or images. Harassers will sometimes even go so far as to expose themselves on camera.

Abuse of private chat

The advent of personal and private chat conversations also causes a problem. Some may use it to try targeting victims, trying to bargain for sexual favors or sending inappropriate links. In other cases, harassment can occur when group chats exclude certain workers, allowing for an environment where people can talk about their co-workers unkindly behind their backs.

One possible benefit to the technology, however, is how much easier it is to collect evidence these days than before. Simply right-clicking and saving on images or screen-capturing conversations can allow for a more thorough and immediate investigation into reports of harassment, which could also lead to quicker action. It is a good idea for anyone facing such instances of harassment to gather such evidence as early as possible.