#Metoo has been a popular hashtag that continues to spread across social media and industries like wildfire. Suddenly, women(and men) are feeling empowered to speak up and out against the sexual harassment that they have dealt with. While accusers have gained much support in traditional workplaces, it isn’t quite the same within the freelance economy.
Typically, when a colleague makes an unwanted advance or unsolicited sexual comment, there’s typically a protocol when you work a traditional 9-5 job: You report the incident to your Human Resources director, and they help mitigate the situation. On the flip side, in the freelance economy—which has a workforce of 53 million people in the US alone— more freelance employees face incidents of sexual harassment involving colleagues or supervisors while working remotely and unfortunately the sexual harassment protocol isn’t always so clear.
Over the last several weeks many freelancers have reached out to us expressing that they too have been sexually harassed as freelancers but have little to no clue what they should do in order to report it. While the exact protocol remains unclear there are things one can do in order to insure that their voices are heard:
Report to HR
Even though you may not be a full time employee, if someone has sexually harassed you during ‘company time’ they may still be in violation of their company policy. If for some reason there is no HR person in place, identify who the next person in command is and report the incident to them directly.
File a Police Report
If you really feel violated you can always file a police report and also a restraining order against the person who sexual harassed you. While this probably means you will no longer be able to work for this person you can ensure that they won’t have the option to harass you again.
Once you have filed a police report it may not be enough for your abuser to get the hint. You may have to take it a step further by pressing charges depending on how bad the sexual harassment incidents are.
End the Contract
While no one likes to lose money, no client is ever worth it if they make you feel devalued emotionally and physically. Don’t ever be afraid to end a contract because you ‘need the money’. There’s always some other client who can fill this gap.
Still not sure how to handle sexual harassment? Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org