Sexual Harassment: Anxiety-Provoking and Unhealthy
It Even Happens Remotely!
By Lindy Korn, Esq.
People have been starved for human interaction during the pandemic, especially those working from home. While holiday parties took place remotely this year, zoom technology includes visual interactions and private breakout rooms. It is common to see a rise in sexual harassment complaints after holiday parties, especially where liquor is served and employees feel comfortable with one another — telling jokes and sharing gossip all in good fun. So, it did not surprise me when I received the following complaints after this year’s remote interactions:
- My supervisor kept asking me to meet him after the zoom gathering to take a walk and chat one-on-one. Feeling pressured and anxious, I felt obligated to comply.
- When my team leader singled me out on zoom complimenting my low-cut outfit, saying that customers might appreciate it too, everyone laughed, but I felt objectified.
- My co-workers congratulated me on my recent promotion but joked that I must have worked lots of overtime with my manager to receive the raise. I blushed, felt demeaned, and said nothing.
- After winning a sales trip to Las Vegas once travel resumes, my boss suggested we stay in the same hotel to work on our sales pitches. Knowing the request was inappropriate, I spent my holidays worrying.
Each of these interactions created fear in the person being targeted, causing them unhealthy emotional distress and anxiety. An office handbook may mandate that victims report unwanted behavior that might result in a hostile workplace but figuring out how to safely complain can be even more stressful.
Lindy Korn, Esq. is an attorney who advocates for her client’s rights sexual harassment issues. Learn more at www.lindykorn.com or call 716-856-KORN.