“Sexting,” the practice of taking sexually explicit pictures and sending them to others, is a rapidly emerging workplace problem. Almost every employment lawyer has at least one case involving an employee sexting an inappropriate picture to a coworker. And since it rarely matters in the harassment context whether the PDA is personal or company-issued, it is a misconception for employees to think they can do whatever they want on their personal phones. We recently investigated a case where a male employee sexted a female coworker from his personal phone giving rise to a harassment claim. People drop their guard with texting because they think texting is a more casual form of communication than e-mail. Most employees realize now that e-mails don’t go away. They also should know texts can be pulled from a phone number for documentation in a harassment case.
What’s an employer to do? At the risk of sounding like a broken record – policy and training. Make sure your technology use and harassment policies address the issue, which should also be part of harassment training.