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Legal Consequences of Cyberbullying

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

cyberbullying cases

You may have considered cyberbullying to be only a teenage problem, but it is not. People of all ages from all around the world suffer from cyberbullying. Since a whole lot of our lives has moved to the online world, so has bullying.

Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs through electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and others. It may involve harassment on social media, through email, SMS or messaging platforms, or any other place online. As long as it is bullying and is online, it is cyberbullying.

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In our practice as New York cyberbullying attorneys, we have represented many people who have been bullied online for discriminatory purposes. And most often, it happens at the workplace.

Cyberbullying at the workplace creates a hostile work environment which is not healthy for the employees. That’s why it is prohibited and should be tackled.

If you or a loved one are in such a situation, do not hesitate to call a New York employment attorney for assistance. Your situation is not easy and requires a very serious approach. Bullies never admit their deeds and you need to oppose them the right way. That’s where a cyberbullying lawyer can help. We can help you understand what cyberbullying is, determine whether your case is one of cyberbullying and explain to you how to legally address and prevent such matters in the future.

Victims of cyberbullying have a hard time speaking up. It is understandable why – being bullied makes you afraid and destroys your confidence. However, you are only a report away from changing your situation completely. Bullies are strong and powerful only when unopposed because deep inside they are insecure and fearful. Once you oppose them, they lose power.

That’s why you shouldn’t think twice to report a cyberbully. If you don’t know how to do it, it is best to call a lawyer for help. In the meantime, you can read the rest of the article and learn more about the legal aspects of your issue, including:

  • Cyberbullying at work and what to do about it
  • Collecting evidence to report cyberbullying
  • Ways to report cyberbullying to your employer
  • Report the cyberbullying at work to your internet service provider (ISP)
  • Legal consequences of cyberbullying and reporting it to law enforcement
  • Close the doors of communication to the cyberbullying at work
  • Filing a civil lawsuit as a victim of cyberbullying
  • Drafting and filing your complaint in cyberbullying cases
  • Legal consequences of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying at Work and What to Do About It

As we said already, cyberbullying in the workplace is more common than most people think. It includes any behavior seeking to harm, intimidate or coerce someone else at work, but with online means.

If you are a victim of cyberbullying, remaining silent is not an option. Instead, you should raise up to the problem and oppose the bully. They are not as strong as they present themselves. In fact, the challenge is not as big as it looks now.

In the beginning, you want to know what can you do about it and what are the ways to protect yourself from cyberbullying, but soon you’ll realize that it’s not as hard as you thought it will be with the right lawyer on your side.

Our former clients have also been afraid and hesitant to speak up, but once they had begun the process with our help, they realized that there is not much to worry about.

By the end of the proceedings, they are all wondering why they didn’t start earlier.

So, if you are in the same place, it is time to start making a strategy with your attorney. They will let you know about all the ways to protect yourself from cyberbullying and what you can do about it.

In any case, first, you’ll have to collect some evidence and then report the case.

Collecting Evidence Ways to Report Cyberbullying

Collecting evidence about your case is the necessary first step of the process. According to the New York laws banning cyberbullying, the burden of proof is on your side. Hence, you have to prove that the harmful behaviors really took place and that they qualify as cyberbullying.

Your attorney will help you understand how to identify cyberbullying first. Just to give you an idea, the most common forms include:

  • Email bullying in the workplace
  • Cyberbullying by sharing photos on the internet, including messaging apps and social media sites
  • Harassing messages
  • Harassing comments on social media sites
  • Flaming discussions aimed to hurt you
  • Excluding you from online chat groups related to the workplace
  • Sharing private information about you in the workplace

The best time to collect evidence, however, is at the moment when you notice something that could eventually qualify as cyberbullying. The bully may take down the offensive material later, hence the sooner you act, the better.

The evidence you can collect includes:

  • Copy of the URL address (web address) where the offensive material is located
  • Screenshots of the pictures, emails, or messages
  • Short videos of the pictures, emails, or messages
  • Prints of the pictures, emails, or messages

Ways to Report Cyberbullying to Your Employer

You can report cyberbullying to your employer in the same way you report any other kind of harassment in the workplace. In many cases, your employer will have a designated person to whom you can report the bullying. If your company is small that may be your boss, but if you are being harassed by him, then you should report directly to the owner of the company.

Again, it is required to have evidence collected for proving the basis of your complaint.

Employers usually want to solve such issues within the company because they may be held liable within the court system. They are obliged to act upon your report, but if they fail, they may be held responsible for the failure.

If your employer doesn’t act at all or if you are not happy with the way they dealt with the cyberbullying against you, consider calling a lawyer to advise you on filing a lawsuit.

Report the Cyberbullying at Work to Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Cyberbullying often violates the terms and conditions of online service providers. Social media sites, email providers, and telecommunications companies prohibit their users from harassing people on their platforms. As a result, they would take down any content that bullies you, which makes for one of the best ways to report cyberbullying.

People often ask: “Who do I report cyberbullying to?” The answer: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, email service providers – they all make it easy for users to report cyberbullying online. The places where you can report are always easily visible on their websites.

Remember that if you report the bully to the online services providers you won’t lose the right to report them to the police or file a lawsuit. You’ll just close the door and prevent them from bullying you again.

Legal Consequences of Cyberbullying and Reporting It to Law Enforcement

Many people wonder: “If someone is cyberbullying me, can I report it to the police?” The short answer is yes, you can report it and get the police involved in your case.

All you have to do is go to the closest police station and inform them about your problem. New York has laws prohibiting cyberbullying and protecting victims like you. However, do not forget to collect evidence first and present it to the police.

legal consequences of cyberbullying

If it turns out that you have been bullied online, the legal consequences are not small. Depending on various circumstances of your particular case, it may include fines from few hundreds to few thousands of dollars. Also, the bully may get a few months of jail time.

In addition to that, you may be entitled to compensation in the form of damages in a civil proceeding. Online harassment causes pain and suffering and possibly monetary expenses. The bully is legally responsible for the pain and the expenses, hence they may be forced to compensate you.

Close the Door of Communication to the Cyberbullying at Work

Remember that it is very important to say no to cyberbullying at the very moment when the bully starts harassing you because it has many negative effects.

Just to give you an idea of what can cyberbullying lead to, here’s what may happen to you or to a loved one if you don’t speak up:

  • Feeling of shame
  • Social isolation
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Dreading going to work
  • Hating your work
  • Avoiding contact with colleagues
  • Drop in your performance in the workplace
  • Depression symptoms

This is not to be taken lightly. These effects have the power to put you on the track to even worse effects should you not take action as soon as possible.

As we mentioned already, our former clients always regret they didn’t react sooner. Not only because everything becomes easier when you face the bully, but also because these effects are not present in their lives anymore.

But before doing anything else, close the door to the bully. If they harass you through social media, block them. If they harass you via email, don’t open them. Do anything that can be done to prevent any bullying activity from occurring.

Filing a Civil Lawsuit as a Victim

You likely do not know how to press charges for cyberbullying cases properly, hence it is wise to talk to a New York cyberbullying attorney before taking any legal action. Just don’t do this by yourself. Things are not always as simple as they seem and a small mistake may take your case in the wrong direction.

Talk to your lawyer to identify the right form of harassment, to collect evidence if you haven’t done it already and to have them help you file the civil lawsuit.

Keep in mind that it is necessary to describe the case very well in your filing. Also, it is up to you to prove that there was a violation of the law which caused your damages. If you are not sure how to do it, call a lawyer.

Drafting and Filing Your Complaint in Cyberbullying Cases

Responding to cyberbullying is something that only you can do. But dealing with cyberbullying is something that you shouldn’t do alone. You should do that with a New York employment lawyer by your side.

Drafting and filing a complaint in your cyberbullying case won’t be straightforward because the burden of proof is on your shoulders. It is up to you to prove the following:

  • Someone else did something online that hurts you, intimidates you, or just harasses you
  • You have suffered because of that
  • The event really happened
  • The person you accused did that

In addition, you have to provide evidence for each one of these. An experienced attorney will help you determine whether your case qualifies for a cyberbullying complaint and how to prove your point. In fact, a lawyer can make a difference between a winning and a losing case.

Litigating Lawsuit as Legal Consequences of Cyberbullying Cases

When all the complaints and negotiations fail, but your lawyer assures you that you have a strong case, then it is time to file a lawsuit. Going to court is not a pleasant life experience, but if it is necessary to prevent people from harassing you online, then you have to go for it.

Laws Against Cyberbullying in New York

The State of New York is among those that have laws against cyberbullying. Although most of them cover bullying in schools, there are enough that cover cyberbullying in the workplace.

The New York cyberbullying laws prohibit a wide array of hurtful online behaviors. They define what cyberbullying is and what is not, but they also require a preventive and proactive approach by those that could host a bullying environment. Should they fail in prevention, they will be held liable.

laws against cyberbullying

Frequently Asked Questions About Cyberbullying – FAQ

What does cyberbullying look like?

Cyberbullying can take many different forms including, but not limited to:

  • Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or smartphone
  • Taking unflattering or unwanted pictures of a person and spreading them online
  • Stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and send damaging messages as if that person has sent them
  • Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person
  • Spreading rumors on social media sites or through email and messaging apps
  • Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or webpages
  • Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person

How does cyberbullying affect the victim?

As with any other form of bullying, cyberbullying leads to psychological, emotional and physical stress. Employees who are victims of cyberbullying often suffer from the following negative effects:

  • Feeling of shame
  • Not feeling good about themselves
  • Social isolation
  • Drop in performance in the workplace
  • Dreading going to work
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Hating your work
  • Avoiding contact with colleagues
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression symptoms
There are many other symptoms, but these are the most common. If you or a loved one experience any of them, ensure to seek professional help.

Can I report cyberbullying to the police?

Yes, you can report cyberbullying to the police and, in many cases, you should do it. Cyberbullying is illegal in New York, therefore the police are obliged to react in the case of online threats, sexual harassment over phone or internet, hate speech online, and other cases. Before going to the police, it is nice to have collected some evidence about the bullying. Make sure you keep all the messages you have received from the bully and make some screenshots, short videos, or collect materials in another way. You can use it later against the bully. The more information you have for the police officers, the better they’ll be able to investigate your case.

Can employer be held liable for employees’ cyberbullying?

Yes, it is possible, but depends on the circumstances of your case. If the employer could prevent such behavior, but didn’t, then is likely to be held liable. To make sure that you can demand responsibility by your employer, talk to a New York employment lawyer to determine whether you should do it.

The End

Remember that after you take that first step, everything will become easier. The bully will be scared, you’ll get more courage to keep opposing them and your situation, in general, will be changed. If you or a loved one are in a situation just before taking that first step or if you want to keep fighting with the help of our experienced New York cyberbullying lawyers, let’s start with a free initial consultation. Call us to discuss your legal matter: 888-231-4891

Law Office of Yuriy Moshes

Law Office of Yuriy Moshes will help if you find yourself to be a victim of cyberbullying and make sure that you’ll get protection and receive proper compensation. Law Office of Yuriy Moshes represents victims of cyberbullying in the greater New York City area including all of its boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York.

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