Thursday, 7 July 2022

Sexual harrasment at virtual workplace

 Topic : Sexual harassment in virtual workplace


Introduction

While physical and verbal sexual harassment are frequently motivated by the harasser's desire to dominate or intimidate the victim, online sexual harassment can be motivated by a variety of factors. It's common to use revealing images or sexual information (whether real or not) to embarrass the victim. Some harassers may know the victim personally, have been rejected in person, and are now taking revenge online. Virtual sexual harassment, on the other hand, has the potential to escalate out of control.


"The lack of a tangible relationship between the attacker and the victim makes it easier to say things one wouldn't say in person," the authors write in Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate. For example, one employee who wants to ask another for a date but is reluctant to do so may instead write a sexually provocative email to avoid having to confront their coworker in person.


Furthermore, when a harasser writes something publicly, other harassers, even if they don't know the victim, may throw gasoline to the fire. Why? The authors point out that "online posters may not know exactly who the victims are or regard them as genuine individuals," and that "there is always the possibility to bounce off the debate at any time."


While "conventional" sexual harassment often featured a single harasser and one or more victims, internet sexual harassment might entail several harassers ganging up on a single victim.


How to Avoid Online Sexual Harassment

Because virtual sexual harassment occurs online rather than in public, it might be difficult to identify. There are, however, measures to safeguard your personnel.


To begin, demonstrate your company's commitment to a harassment-free workplace. Create a comprehensive sexual harassment policy that includes online conduct. Ensure that the policy is followed at all times. Encourage your staff to share their ideas on how to make your workplace safer from virtual sexual harassment.

Because virtual sexual harassment occurs online rather than in public, it might be difficult to identify. There are, however, measures to safeguard your personnel.


To begin, demonstrate your company's commitment to a harassment-free workplace. Create a comprehensive sexual harassment policy that includes online conduct. Ensure that the policy is followed at all times. Encourage your staff to share their ideas on how to make your workplace safer from virtual sexual harassment.


Updating Your Sexual Harassment Training


Examine your company's current anti-harassment policies and training. Do they cover online sexual harassment as well? Make changes to the policy and distribute it to all staff.


Then, educate staff on what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable digital behaviour. Teach them how to recognise online sexual harassment and how to report it on their own or a coworker's behalf.


Role-playing exercises could also be included to help employees learn how to avoid bullying their coworkers online. Shorter, more frequent sessions with interactive aspects are preferable than extensive lectures.

Furthermore, teach personnel in small groups, with distinct sessions for supervisors and employees. Information on how to protect themselves, their colleagues, and the business from the repercussions of virtual sexual harassment should be included in management training. Allow participants to provide comments and ask questions during employee seminars. More individual attention aids their understanding of the anti-harassment message.


Although the United States has a federal cyber-stalking legislation that covers online harassment, several states, such as California, Illinois, and Massachusetts, have their own laws. Create a training programme that reflects the laws' definitions of virtual sexual harassment and its implications.


Online harassment may be harder to detect, yet it is just as harmful as physical harassment. Ascertain that your company has the necessary processes and training in place to tackle it.


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