Workplace harassment has increased during the pandemic

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Kamala Harris’s trip continues in Mexico, Yeezy Gap debuts its first item, and workplace harassment may have increased during the pandemic. Have a great Wednesday.

– Workplace harassment goes remote. File this under ‘Disappointing, but no shock’: the pandemic-fueled transition to remote work has not ended workplace harassment. In fact, there’s some evidence it actually sparked more of it.

According to a Project Include report cited by this New York Times story on the subject, 25% of respondents said they experienced an increase in gender-based harassment during the pandemic, 10% said the same of hostility related to their race or ethnicity, and 23% of those 50 years and older reported a jump in age-related abuse.

The Times suggests that some people thought working from home might have tamped down harassment. That may be, though I wonder how much time those folks have spent on the Internet or communicating via the many digital platforms that have come to define modern office life.

The reality, as the piece reports, is that the isolation of working from home, one-on-one communication over Zoom, Slack, or the phone (with no one to witness or overhear), the informal, “no rules” feeling of working from your kitchen table in PJs, the blurred lines between work and life—it’s all fed into a murky stew that has, in some cases, emboldened harassers and, in many cases, put employees in a vulnerable position.

It seems clear that a lot of HR executives have missed the boat on this issue over the past year and a half. But it’s not too late! Indeed, having a strong policy about remote harassment, an effective way to report violations, and a clear procedure for how to address them (all good advice doled out in the NYT story) could be even more important as many companies tackle hybrid work, which seems the likely next step for many. If you thought going all-remote was chaotic and disorienting, just wait until we start seeing different people scattered across different locations on different days of the week. It’s not hard to imagine that such a setup will create new openings for harassment—and now’s the time to stop them before they start.

Kristen Bellstrom

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


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