Can You Sue Your Employer If You Are Harassed When Working From Home?
The number of people working from home remains steadily on the rise more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020. A report by Upwork projects that by 2025, more than 36 million Americans would be working remotely. That’s one in four Americans.
In 2021, however, working from home is still a new thing for most people, and many employees and employers do not realize which employment laws apply to remote working. Lawyers have noted an increase in workplace harassment for remote employees, which is why it is essential to discuss with counsel whether or not you can sue your employer for harassment that takes place while working from home.
If you have become a victim of virtual workplace harassment, do not hesitate to speak with our Los Angeles harassment attorneys at Obagi Law Group, P.C., to discuss your rights.
What Counts as Virtual Workplace Harassment?
Many people do not recognize signs of harassment when working from home. Virtual workplace harassment refers to any kind of pervasive mistreatment or offensive conduct that takes place online. California law prohibits both sexual and non-sexual harassment.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in California protects employees from harassment on the basis of numerous protected classes, including age, color, marital status, gender identity, ancestry, medical conditions, disability, and genetic information.
Unfortunately, employers and supervisors are more likely to get away with virtual workplace harassment than with harassment in the office.
Signs of Virtual Workplace Harassment to Watch Out For
It is typically harder to recognize signs of virtual workplace harassment than it is harassment in the office. What’s more, it is often more challenging to prove that virtual harassment occurred.
Thus it is particularly important for employees to watch out for the following signs of virtual harassment when working from home:
- Receiving unsolicited information, photos, videos, or emails
- Being a victim of rumors spread online by your coworkers, supervisors, or employer
- Getting inappropriate comments about your appearance
- Being mistreated during online meetings such as Zoom video calls
- Receiving threats online
- Berating or humiliating a worker in a group meeting
- Stalking an employee or coworker online
- Having a video call with an improperly dressed coworker, supervisor, or employer
- Receiving inappropriate texts, emails, or pictures online
Note this is not a complete list of forms of virtual workplace harassment. Speak with an experienced attorney if you believe that you have been harassed while working remotely.
Can You Sue Your Employer for Harassment When Working Remotely?
If you experience virtual harassment when working from home, you can sue your employer to hold them accountable for the wrongful conduct. If you have been harassed while working remotely, take the following steps:
- Contact a skilled attorney to help you protect your rights and gather evidence of harassment
- Report harassment to your company’s HR department
- File a complaint with the DFEH or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and provide as much detail as possible
- Receive a right-to-sue notice from the DFEH or EEOC to proceed with a lawsuit
Our Los Angeles harassment lawyers at Obagi Law Group, P.C., are prepared to help you understand your rights and get compensated for the infliction of emotional distress and other damages. Schedule a case review if you experienced harassment while working from home. Call 424-284-2401.