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How to Handle Sexual Harassment in Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings have become the go-to method of communicating for workplaces and schools throughout California and all across the country ever since the Coronavirus pandemic took over the United States. With schools moving to remote learning and many workplaces moving their employees to remote settings, virtual meetings have been how people are still completing their to-do lists.

However, there’s still the possibility that sexual harassment can occur in these virtual meetings. It might not be physical harassment, but that doesn’t make it any less real – or any less illegal. If you have been subjected to sexual harassment in virtual meetings, here are some things you can do to help protect yourself.

Review the company’s meeting policy

Even though your employer must have a policy in place regarding harassment, your employer should also have a policy for virtual meetings. That policy governs how and when virtual meetings are to take place, who is allowed to attend, how long they will last, and what will be discussed. The policy should also include steps on how to deal with sexual harassment if it arises in a virtual meeting. Information for contacting Human Resources should also be included.

Don’t activate the camera

If you are not required to be on camera, do not activate the camera feature. Your employer should not require you to use the camera on your computer for the meeting. You should only have to use the audio feature so you can be heard when speaking. If you need to share your computer screen to present a slideshow or other document, make sure that no personal documents or pictures are visible.

Record the virtual meeting

The majority of video apps have a feature that allows you to record the meeting. If you are simply someone logging on for the meeting, you might not be able to record it. If this is the case, be sure to request that the host record the meeting. You could also use the camera on your mobile phone to record what is said and displayed during the meeting. Having a recording of the meeting makes it easier to explain the harassment and identify who committed the harassment.

Interrupt the meeting immediately

If you are being harassed during a virtual meeting you should interrupt it immediately. Unmute your microphone and tell the person running the meeting that harassment is occurring. You should also email or call someone from the human resources department to inform them of the harassment. Do not wait for the meeting to end to point out what is happening, especially if the harasser is not a member of your organization and somehow hacked the meeting.

Only join secure meetings

You should only attend secure virtual meetings. For example, the meeting should have a unique link, a unique password, and operate a waiting room. All guests should be vetted and confirmed before being allowed to enter the virtual meeting from the waiting room.

Have you been harassed sexually in your Los Angeles virtual meeting? If so, it’s important to report the harassment to a superior or to the human resources department. You should then discuss the situation with an experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney. Call the office of Taylor & Ring at 310-776-6390 or complete a contact form online to schedule a consultation. We serve all of Southern California.