Sharing inappropriate content at work – websites, videos, social media posts – is a form of sexual harassment. If you have been subjected to these types of visual displays by anyone in your workplace, turn to Castronovo & McKinney, LLC.
Our employment law practice is dedicated to helping employees in New Jersey fight back against sexual harassment. While harassment is often thought of in terms of unwanted sexual advances, being sent inappropriate content or visual displays can create an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment.
We believe that no one should put up with being sexually harassed at work and are here to protect your rights. Contact our Morristown or Manhattan office today to talk to an experienced sexual harassment lawyer.
Types of Inappropriate Content and Visual Displays
There are several ways that sexual harassment in the workplace can occur, including inappropriate sexual displays. An employee who displays inappropriate photos, calendars, collectible items, or posters in his or her work area may have committed sexual harassment.
Visual harassment may also involve:
- Sharing offensive videos on social media
- Sharing inappropriate content by emails
- Sending sexually suggestive text messages (sexting)
- Displaying an offensive computer background
While this seems straightforward, it is not always clear when sharing inappropriate content becomes sexual harassment. An isolated incident might not rise to the level of harassment; however, an individual who shares inappropriate content or images could create a sexually hostile workplace if his or her conduct is repeated or persistent.
What is a hostile work environment?
Generally, there are two forms of sexual harassment – “quid pro quo” harassment and a hostile work environment.
- Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an authority figure (e.g business owner, executive, supervisor, manager) makes sexual demands in exchange for a benefit of employment, such as a job offer, raise, or promotion.
- A hostile work environment involves unwanted comments, conduct, or displays that are severe and pervasive enough to interfere with the victim’s ability to perform his or her job. Sharing inappropriate content falls under the category of a hostile work environment.
If you have received inappropriate images from a coworker and asked for it to stop, but the images or displays, or content continued, you may have grounds for a sexual harassment claim.
What to Do If You Were Sent Inappropriate Content from a Co-Worker
The first thing to do if a coworker texted, emailed, or shared inappropriate content with you is to ask for the images to stop. Also, notify your human resources (HR) department or your manager if your company does not have an HR department. It is also important to retain the images, document the chain of messages, and keep a log of your conversations with HR, all of which will serve as important evidence to support your claim.
Why You Need a Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Pursuing a sexual harassment claim is challenging because these are often “he said, she said” disputes. When someone shares inappropriate content via email, text, or social media, digital images can always be recovered. In any event, an employer that knows about inappropriate content or images being shared in the workplace can be held liable for sexual harassment.
The best way to prove your claim and protect your rights is to have the informed representation our firm provides. When you become our client, we will handle all the details of your claim, conduct a thorough investigation, and collect important evidence, including:
- Copies of the inappropriate images
- Texts, emails, or messages with the inappropriate images
- Your texts, emails, or messages responding to the harasser about the inappropriate images
- Documentation showing you reported the claim to your employer
- Witness statements
- Copies of your company’s employee handbook and sexual harassment policy
- Personnel records to determine if the offender had a pattern of sharing inappropriate content
Our attorneys will also take over all communications with your employer and their attorneys, negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement, and file a sexual harassment lawsuit, if necessary. Above all, we will fight to help you recover just compensation, such as lost wages, lost benefits, and liquidated damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
We understand that you may be reluctant to come forward, but it’s the only way to stop the offender from sharing inappropriate content and protecting your employment rights. Remember, your employer cannot retaliate against you for complaining about harassment and can be held liable for taking adverse employment action against you (e.g. firing, demoting, disciplining).
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Sexual Harassment Attorneys
At Castronovo & McKinney, we know that being sent inappropriate content at work is offensive; it is also illegal. Whether you are being sent inappropriate emails, images, or social media posts by a supervisor, coworker, or third party (client, vendor), we can help. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can start working on your sexual harassment claim.