In 2021, a survey by employee feedback platform creator AllVoices found that 44% of U.S. workers experienced workplace harassment of some sort (bullying, discrimination, online harassment, cyber bullying).² Nearly four in 10 (38%) were harassed remotely by telephone, email, video conferencing, or chat platforms (Slack, Teams, etc.). One in four (24%) said that remote work channels actually worsened harassment. Further, fear of retaliation, of not being believed, or concern that no action would be taken kept half of those who suffered harassment from reporting it. The study encompassed harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, race, age, socioeconomic status, and other factors.
A 2021 Pew Research Center study found that 55% of U.S. adults acknowledge that online harassment is a major problem.³ Forty-one percent said they’d experienced it personally, and nearly two-thirds of adults under the age of 30 said that they’d been harassed online. In addition, Pew’s data showed an increase in the severity of online harassment incidents.
Similarly, a U.K. study found that sexual harassment, in particular, is on the rise. Conducted by the Rights of Women, an organization that assists women with legal issues, the research revealed that 45% of women who experienced sexual harassment experienced it remotely, and that 42% of women who experienced sexual harassment at work said that some or all of it occurred online.⁴ Nearly one in four of those women (23%) reported that the harassment increased since they’d moved to remote work.