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Long Island Sound business law attorney sexual harassment

COVID-19 has forced many business owners to radically change the way that they run their companies. Many employees are now working from home on a part-time or full-time basis. Meetings are increasingly held via Skype, Zoom, and other video conferencing platforms. Employees may also perform much more of their work duties through phone calls and emails. While it seems that all of this social distancing would prevent sexual harassment at work, sexual harassment continues to be an issue for many workers. As a business owner, having a robust sexual harassment policy that includes information about working from home is key to preventing harassment or discrimination lawsuits.

Sexual Harassment May Take New Forms in the COVID-19 Era

Working from home does not eliminate the possibility of workplace sexual harassment. In fact, many believe that working from home may actually increase the chances of a hostile workplace. Employees may act differently when communicating through email or instant messaging services instead of in-person. People often say things online that they would not say during a face-to-face interaction. Furthermore, having a colleague’s personal cell phone number or seeing into their home via a video call can create a sense of familiarity that may encourage inappropriate comments or jokes. Some employees may even go so far as to send suggestive pictures or videos to other employees.

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