When Workplace Sexual Harassment Extends to Social Media


Those who participate on social media apps such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat do so for personal reasons. They might use social media for connecting with friends and family, self-expression, entertainment, or promoting a side business they run outside of their normal employment.

Social media, however, is just one of the avenues through which sexual harassment at work can creep into someone’s personal life. Most people have some kind of digital footprint created by social media, which almost anyone else can find. This footprint can, unfortunately, become a foothold that a sexual harassment perpetrator from work can use to harass their colleagues.

Sexual Harassment Is Illegal Whenever, Wherever a Coworker Is Involved

People who experience sexual harassment on social media apps from coworkers, supervisors, managers, and others at work should know and exercise their rights. The West Virginia Human Rights Act protects employees from all forms of sexual harassment, and there are federal laws that provide additional protection.

Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception that sexual harassment from a colleague is only illegal if it occurs during work hours or on work-related platforms. The reality is that any time someone from work is engaging in sexually harassing behavior, your employer has an obligation to intervene when you report it.

If a coworker sends an offensive image or message in your DMs, you can report this behavior to your employer and expect reasonable action taken to prevent it from happening again. You can also report any evidence of social media stalking.

What Is Considered Sexual Harassment on Social Media?

Any unwelcome sexual behavior from a coworker can be considered sexual harassment, whether it occurs on social media or at work. Such behavior can be physical, verbal, or non-verbal actions.

While physical manifestations of sexual harassment are some of the most egregious, sexually harassing messages and/or images can be just as traumatizing to endure. It’s important for employees to understand that sexual harassment from a coworker on social media is an experience they can – and should – report to their employers.

What If My Employer Doesn’t Help Me?

If your employer refuses to investigate your sexual harassment complaint or take meaningful action to prevent further abuse from occurring, you should consult with an attorney. Our employment lawyers at Rod Smith Law PLLC have more than 20 years of combined legal experience holding responsible parties accountable for sexual harassment at work.

You don’t have to let sexual harassment over social media from a coworker go unchallenged when your employer refuses to act. We can help you take legal action to assert your rights.

For more information, contact Rod Smith Law PLLC today and request a free initial consultation.

Share To: