Sending offensive and inappropriate messages via texting can land you in court.
Law.com is reporting on "textual harassment," a growing problem within the workplace where text messages are inappropriate or offensive, and leading to eventual lawsuits. Employment lawyers are warning that texting is now a growing liability for employers, landing them in court and are ultimately tough to dispute, especially when pulled from employees' cell phones. Who are the biggest culprits? The male bosses. Cases surrounding text messages between male bosses and female employees should be rather obvious: asking them out on dates, promising promotions for sexual favors.
"We're actually seeing it happening ... lawsuits are being filed, where an employee will testify that one of the means that they were harassed by someone was through text messages," said Clint Robison of the Los Angeles office of Chicago's Hinshaw & Culbertson, who is handling several textual harassment lawsuits on behalf of employers. "[Text messages] come up in pure harassment claims and wrongful termination lawsuits, where employees are being deposed and saying, 'Well, I can prove [harassment] because the dinner date invitation from by boss was sent to me by my boss late at night.'"
Just in the past year, employee-rights attorneys have discovered that text messages serve as powerful ammunition in legal disputes. Law.com's article details various lawsuits concerning textual harassment: two female soccer players and their coach; four waitresses at Famous Dave's restaurant, even texting within the World Wrestling entertainment company.
"Those have really been a gold mine in terms of finding evidence to support and corroborate claims of sexual harassment in the workplace," employee-rights attorney Jennifer Salvatore said of text messages. "In the he-said-she-said cases, you look at the texts and you can see who is telling the truth."