Can sexual harassment occur due to inappropriate social media posts?


Things we now regard as sexual harassment was commonly accepted just a few decades ago. The legislation has not stopped this pattern of inappropriate behaviour, which includes both verbal and physical forms of sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States defines sexual harassment as “any action, practise, or policy that produces an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment,” including verbal, physical, or sexual comments or gestures.

Messages, images, or other improper or insulting statements transmitted on social media may be deemed sexual harassment, along with overt forms such as physical contact and sexually explicit comments. To learn more about workplace rights, click here!

How Far Does Online Sexual Harassment Go?

Prior to the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, sexual harassment in the workplace typically took the form of uninvited physical contact or inappropriate comments based on an individual’s gender or sex. Workers who experience harassment or a violation of their rights on the job have recourse, thanks to a variety of laws and rules designed to safeguard them. However, in today’s era of ubiquitous smartphones and online communities, cyberbullying via platforms like Twitter and Instagram is more common.

Both quid pro quo and hostile work environment forms of sexual harassment are possible in the online realm. A quid pro quo claim is made when an employee alleges that a supervisor or other employer in a position of power demanded sexual favours in exchange for a promotion, a raise, or other advantageous treatment.

How Does Social Media Harassment Affect Employees in the Workplace?

There is no denying the importance of social media for modern businesses, who use it to engage with customers, spread the word about their wares, and scout for fresh market niches. However, sexual harassment can occur when an employer or coworker goes too far and utilises social media to participate in behaviour that creates a hostile work environment. Here are some instances of sexual harassment committed via social media in the workplace:

Hostile or improper comments or messages conveyed through online mediums such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are examples of virtual harassment.

When an employee receives a text message that contains offensive or sexually explicit material, this is considered textual harassment.

An example of workplace harassment is “cyberstalking,” in which one employee is followed obsessively across many social media platforms by a supervisor or coworker for the express purpose of intimidating or harassing the targeted employee.

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