Most people associate sexual harassment on the job with woman being propositioned or harassed by a male coworker, be it a colleague or a boss. Although women account for the majority of cases involving workplace sexual harassment, it can and does happen to men as well.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has defined workplace sexual harassment 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; unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance; or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Scenarios of sexual harassment in the workplace include inappropriate touching, unwarranted advances for a romantic relationship, and offensive sexual nicknames. Sometimes the behavior can be less subtle, such as saying derogatory or offensive remarks about others, posting sexually explicit pictures, or discussions revolving around sex.
Men Sexually Harassed in the Workplace
It is true that men can be sexually harassed in the workplace by coworkers, supervisors, or their boss and no matter their sexual orientation or that of their harasser. The EEOC reported that 6,822 sexual harassment claims were filed in 2015, with 17.1 percent of those cases filed by men.
Several of the cases reference female-on-male workplace sexual harassment that have led to significant awards for the male employee. Instances include retaliation for denying sexual advances, unwelcome touching and caressing, and being exposed to offensive sexual comments and jokes. 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 has led to more male-on-male workplace sexual harassment claims. These circumstances often include both sexual advances from male coworkers and supervisors and sexual-centered hazing that is as equaling demoralizing as any other workplace sexual harassment.
Why Men Often Do Not Come Forward
Although precise data does not provide exact figures on the number of men who are sexually harassed at work in relation to the number of these men who actually file claims for sexual harassment, most experts agree that the cases filed with the EEOC is just a sliver of the total number of men who are sexually harassed at work.
Being mocked by coworkers is a reason that many men may not report their harassment or file a claim. Additionally, there still exists the notion that men cannot be subjected to workplace sexual harassment from a woman, or that being harassed by another man says something about their own sexuality. Fear of embarrassment regarding information of the incident often leaves victims to remain quiet, and whatever the reason for not reporting workplace sexual harassment, it does happen to men.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Advocate for Men Who Have Been the Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Nobody deserves to be subjected to harassment of any kind, especially if it is sexual in nature and occurring at your job. No matter who you are, it is illegal for someone to sexually harass you at your workplace. The Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Burnham Douglass are highly regarded in fighting for men who have been victims of workplace sexual harassment. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.