Most people understand that there are strict laws in place to protect employees from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. However, as the coronavirus pandemic has swept across this country, the work situation for many people has changed. There has been a spike in telecommuting, which introduces an entirely new way for many people to harass others in the “workplace.” At The Rager Law Firm, our Los Angeles discrimination attorneys want to discuss what employers can do to reduce the harassment and discrimination of those working at home.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to many people working from home. As traditional office workers learn how to telecommute, some employment experts say that employers should re-introduce anti-harassment training and protocols, as those unused to online communication may end up crossing a line.
Most employers understand that there are strong state and federal regulations in place to protect workers from experiencing any type of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. However, policies to prevent harassment and discrimination are typically designed to accommodate traditional working environments, not necessarily remote work.
Communicating solely online, whether through email or text messaging, can significantly change the tone of a message. It could lead workers to “take things the wrong way” if communication is too casual. Experts say that there is a tendency to be more casual when communicating online, but employers must encourage their workers to conduct business with the same professionalism they would in the office.
Of particular concern could be the use of sending funny emails or popular “memes” to replace what would have been typical break room or “watercooler” conversation and jokes. While most employees typically know when not to cross the line in person, telecommuting opens the door to the potential for a hostile work environment.
As measures to control COVID-19 continue to keep many workers at home, employers should reinforce that there are strict policies in place to prevent discrimination and harassment. They need to remind their workers to show the same respect and consideration to their coworkers while telecommuting as they do in the office. Any telecommuting environments must be professional workplaces, and any inappropriate comments or behaviors must be dealt with quickly and under the same disciplinary policies that are in place under the traditional workplace protocols.
If you or somebody you love as faced harassment or discrimination in the workplace, you need to seek legal assistance today. At The Rager Law Firm, we are ready to help you get through this situation. Just because you are telecommuting or working from home does not mean harassment and discrimination cannot happen. We will work to secure any compensation you are entitled to, which can include:
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