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Working in California: What is online sexual harassment?

Were you aware that workplace harassment doesn't only have to happen face-to-face in California? In fact, there doesn't have to be an in-person confrontation at all. The world has lots of modern technology now, so it's possible to face sexual harassment through social media, your cellphone or other devices.

Consider this: If someone contacts you on your phone and makes lewd comments, that can be considered sexual harassment. If it's someone you know from work, like a boss or colleague, then that's workplace harassment, plain and simple.

There are basically two types of harassment that can take place when you're not face-to-face with the other party. First, the harassment can come in the form of materials received. Second, you could have material posted about you.

Harassment can come in the form of email attachments. For instance, you might have received an inappropriate image from someone in the office or received a harassing email about how you dressed to go to work. Offensive emails can be considered as harassment.

The fortunate thing about online harassment is that you can block it. You can install a filtering system on the computer or block messages from particular users. You can report the behavior to the website host and even limit the kinds of materials your computer will allow you to pull up. While protecting yourself is a good option, it certainly doesn't dismiss what has already taken place. You have a right to seek help in your situation. Consider filing a claim against your employer or the employee for harassment; you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.

Source: FindLaw, "Understanding Online Sexual Harassment" Oct. 30, 2014

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