Workplace harassment is defined as any unwanted activity that happens in the work environment to make another feel uncomfortable, including verbal or physical interactions. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted sexual attention, such as sexual advances, requests for sexual actions, or even inappropriate comments.
We were presented with a case of sexual and workplace harassment of which all should be cautious. We are choosing to share this woman’s case–despite the fact that this particular brand of harassment is rare in the workplace–because we believe that there are many different types of harassment of which everyone should be aware.
A single mother, working at a security corporation in Texas, found her supervisor to be romantically interested in her. After she declined his offers, he created a fake online profile on Facebook that he knew would appeal to her wants and desires. The fake profile had at least 100 mutual friends with the woman, so she added him and began an adult sexual relationship with the fake profile he was accessing.
Creating a false profile to trick someone emotionally and romantically online is known as “catfishing”.
After a while, she began to connect the dots and she realized that it was her supervisor contacting her. He texted her from his cell number, posing as her fake lover, and she recognized the number from previous texts from him.
She then contacted a superior, who separated them in the work environment. However, her employment ended with a termination several months later.
From our perspective, many questions arise: Has this ever happened to another employee with this man before? If he contacted her with the fake profile during work hours or from company computers or devices, is his conduct actionable under the law? Should reporting this situation have cost her a job? Especially a job needed by a single mother?
In today’s society, there is an ongoing debate surrounding the extent to which personal social media profiles should affect the work environment.
No employee should be subjected to workplace or sexual harassment – whether in person or online – and the law is designed to protect the lives and jobs of employees from being impacted by unwanted attention or harassment.
If you or someone you know become the victim of sexual or workplace harassment, contact the law offices at Jones Brown, PLLC for legal answers and help. We are available 24 hours a day at 855-JBLAW-99 (855-525-2999).