There is a fine line between co-worker and personal friend. Although it was not uncommon for work buddies to turn into friends outside the office before, the rise of technology and social media has often made it increasingly difficult to establish boundaries with co-workers.
In an age of social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and social media related dating applications—Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, OKCupid, casual relationships initiated at the office but facilitated by social media is on the rise. It is now easier than ever to know what your co-worker is doing on the weekend without talking to them than before. It almost makes you feel as if you're closer with that person, knowing what they are doing when you are apart.
San Francisco employment attorney, David Lowe, commented that “social media…creates more opportunity for people to cross the line between professional and unprofessional conduct.” The instantaneousness of social media and technology allows information, both good and bad, to be accessible at our fingertips.
1 in 4 women in a study conducted by Cosmopolitan Magazine, indicated they have been sexually harassed from lewd texts or emails in the workplace. Others have claim they were confronted with sexually explicit materials on office computers, co-workers' phones, or find comprising images of themselves leaked to the workplace.
Technology has made sexual harassment more complicated than an inappropriate grab at your body or a drunken wink and smile. In this day, sexual harassment can be a winky emoticon following a comment about your clothing, or a person of the same gender's email to you, asking for sexual advice when you're not comfortable speaking about things like that.
Does sexual harassment via social media and technology sound familiar to you? You might not have realized it was harassment, but if you felt uncomfortable, then it could be the case. It's always a good idea to memorialize any existing messages, photos, emails, etc. that showcase a pattern of uncomfortableness. Be careful of your response too. If you get a winky emoticon and it actually makes you uncomfortable, you are in no way obligated to send a winky back.
Concerned that these circumstances apply to you? Give an Aegis attorney a call.
Source: Forbes & Cosmopolitan Magazine