Social media makes it easy for users to follow their friends’ accounts, people their friends know or people they may know but don’t follow yet. One such way companies do this is by tracking user locations and matching them up with other users around them through algorithms. As such, many users become friends with their coworkers online.
Friending your coworkers online has its benefits – you can continue conversations outside of work, ask for assistance on work or easily swap schedules. For many people, this is what their online activity with coworkers looks like, but in other cases, friending a coworker online could spell disaster. Here’s what you should know:
What does online harassment look like?
Employees are legally protected from harassment at their place of work. This includes discrimination (sex, race, religious beliefs, age, etc.) and sexual harassment (inappropriate touching, comments or interactions). Everyone should feel safe knowing they can be themselves at work.
When harassment does occur, it typically happens in person. However, in the age of technology and remote work, harassment has taken on a new face. People can now experience harassment at all hours of the day online.
Employees may receive unwanted messages suggesting offensive or suggestive comments or pictures, creating a hostile work environment. Online activity may even find it easier for harassers to reach their targets everywhere they go. This can cause employees to not only feel unsafe at work but also at home or in public.
Even creating a physical distance from a harasser can’t protect some employees. If you’re being harassed by a coworker online, you may need to know your options.