A growing number of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace, by both male and female co-workers and managers.

Yes, Men Can Be Sexually Harassed in the Workplace

For most people, when they think of sexual harassment in the workplace, their mind immediately jumps to an image of a woman being harassed or propositioned by a male coworker, supervisor or boss.  While most cases of workplace sexual harassment do involve female victims, a growing number of cases of both men and women harassing male employees have emerged.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Workplace sexual harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that explicitly or implicitly affect an individual’s employment, unreasonable interferes with an individual’s work performance; or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.” . Examples of sexual harassment might be as straightforward as unwelcome touching, being pressured to go on romantic dates, or being called an offensive sexual nickname.  It can also include less obvious behavior, like making derogatory or offensive remarks about others, posting sexually explicit pictures or regular conversation of a sexual nature.

Can Men Be Sexually Harassed?

While the vast majority of sexual harassment cases filed with the EEOC are filed by women, an increasing number of men are filing their own claims.  In 2015, 6,822 sexual harassment claims were filed with the EEOC.  17.1 percent of those cases were filed by men.

There are a number of cases involving female on male workplace sexual harassment that have resulted in significant awards for the male employee. These include instances of retaliation for refusing sexual advances, unwelcome touching and caressing, and being subjected to offensive sexual comments and jokes.  Male on male workplace sexual harassment claims are becoming more common, starting with a 1998 ruling from the United States Supreme Court that held that men are protected from workplace sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  These cases may include both sexual advances from male co-workers and supervisors and sexual-based hazing that can be equally damaging.

Why Many Men Don’t Report

There are no exact statistics on how many men are sexually harassed at work, and how many of these men actually file claims for sexual harassment.  However, it is likely that the cases filed with the EEOC represent just a portion of the total number of men who are sexually harassed at work.

Some men may not report their harassment or file a claim with the EEOC because they are afraid of being mocked by coworkers.  They may believe that men can’t truly be sexually harassed by a woman, or that being harassed by another man implicates their own sexuality.  They may fear being embarrassed if details of the harassment were leaked, particularly if they believe that they should be able to handle the issue themselves.  Whatever the reason, it is evident that many men are simply not filing claims of sexual harassment.

If you are a man who is being sexually harassed in the workplace, know that it is not acceptable and that there are ways to get help.   The first step is to contact a seasoned workplace harassment attorney who knows how to get results.  The lawyers of PLBH have in-depth knowledge of workplace harassment laws and EEOC procedure, and can work with you to ensure that you are protected and get the compensation you deserve.  Contact our office today at (800) 435-7542 or to schedule an initial consultation about your workplace harassment case.