Even in the virtual office, sexual harassment continues
Though the camera and internet have helped build an informal work environment while remote working, it has also brought home an old disease that hasn’t been cured yet: workplace sexual harassment
“I can’t see you properly. Come closer to the camera." Her boss’ demand over a one-on-one video call in June made her uncomfortable, but not enough to deny the request. The next week, he asked to switch on an extra light so he could see her properly. She did, feeling uneasy. The following Tuesday, he texted her at 10.15pm, asking what she was doing. She replied and switched off her phone. The Bengaluru-based firm was laying off people because coronavirus was hurting business, and she didn’t want to risk her job. He means well, she kept reminding herself. One Friday, he told her in a video call that he liked seeing her hair down. “That was it. He was never like this in the office, but that day I realized what was happening," says the 20-something IT professional. Post that call, she complained about workplace sexual harassment to HR. When nothing happened, she quit.