Article Summary

These days, social media can serve as a pretext for sexual harassment or assault in the workplace. Employees that use social media on the job should know the risks it poses and discuss safeguards with their employer including the establishment of a social media policy.

This article by TELG former principal Tom Harrington (Ret.) and TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by Occupational Health & Safety on April 6, 2015. The full article is .

Excerpted from:

Transcending the Workplace: Sexual Harassment in the 21st Century

Our interactions with work colleagues often occur outside of official business hours. While the after-work "happy hour" has waned in popularity in recent years, employees are more interconnected these days than at any time in the past. Between Facebook accounts, Instagram pictures, "Likes," and "Tweets," the opportunities for employees to engage one another outside of the office – whether in person or online – are almost limitless.

While these opportunities can boost productivity and creativity and help to build strong relationships among staff members, they can also blur lines in subversive ways. Employees can and do send inappropriate Facebook messages to one another or make lewd comments on a photo posted online. These interactions, which often occur off work premises, can have dangerous implications for both employees and employers. Unchecked communications increase the risk of workplace sexual harassment and, in a subset of cases, can lead to sexual assault.