Can Men Become the Victims of Sexual Harassment at Work?

How Do Men in the Workplace Get Targeted as Victims of Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace affects approximately 86% of the workforce. 59% of women and 27% of men in the workforce have experienced sexual harassment at work. Sexual harassment at work is not just a woman’s problem. It affects men in the workplace often.

Men may be more fearful of reporting sexual harassment. They may fear that they will be attacked for being weak. They may fear intense retaliation for standing up against the “man’s world” culture that many workplaces try to instill. They may even fear that their families will not believe their story, and they will lose their jobs and their families.

How does sexual harassment in the workplace target men? Who is committing these acts of sexual harassment against men in the workplace? Read on to learn more about men as victims of workplace sexual harassment.

How Does Sexual Harassment Against Men Occur?

Sexual harassment against men can occur as blatantly as sexual harassment against women. It can start with a crude sexual comment towards a male employee. Maybe a woman in the workplace tells a co-worker that he has a nice butt. Maybe a man asks his male subordinate if he has something in his pocket or if he is just happy to see him. If you are offended by these comments, then you can ask for them to stop. If your coworkers or bosses refuse to listen to your request, you may have a claim for sexual harassment at work.
Sometimes, the sexual acts are actually acts of unwanted physical contact or sexual advances. For instance, if your boss slaps your butt every time she passes you, she is committing unwanted physical contact (as long as you let her know you don’t want her to continue). If your coworker continually harasses you for a date or to meet him in a private corner, even though you refused many times, you are becoming subjected to unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment at work.

It does not matter that you are a man. It does not matter if your harasser is a man or a woman. As soon as you let them know that the comments or actions offend you, they must stop. Otherwise, you can have a claim for workplace sexual harassment.

What Is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Sexual harassment at work occurs when an employee or job applicant is subjected to unwanted physical contact, sexual comments, or sexual advances. Sexual harassment can occur as employer sexual harassment, coworker sexual harassment, supervisor or manager sexual harassment, or non-employee sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can come from the hands of men, women, or non-binary individuals. It can target men, women, or non-binary employees, or job applicants. Sexual harassment claims are never based on whether the target is male or female or whether the harasser is male or female. They are based on whether the sexual nature of the comments, actions, or contact is unwanted and offensive.

Why Do Men Choose to Stay Quiet When Experiencing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

There are many reasons men may choose not to report sexual harassment at work. As with their female counterparts, they may be worried they will get fired from work or face other forms of retaliation if they report claims of sexual harassment. They may also think that no one will believe them and turn the tables to create an atmosphere of victim-blaming.

Often, men may feel like they are expected to just grin and bear any sexual comments or actions. They may feel that their coworkers and others will pick on them and make their life harder because they complained about sexual harassment. Men choosing not to report sexual harassment may be a sign of toxic masculinity in the workplace.

Rather than face ridicule or retaliation, many men choose to ignore the sexual harassment they endure and deal with the hostile work environment. They try to laugh it off or find ways to avoid their harasser. They think that because they are men, they cannot claim sexual harassment at work.

You do not have to grin and bear it or keep quiet about sexual harassment at work. Men in the workplace have the same rights as women to fight sexual harassment.

What Can You Do as a Male Victim of Sexual Harassment at Work?

As a man, you have all the rights women have to fight sexual harassment in the workplace. You have the right to file a written complaint against your employer with HR or your union rep. Once you file a written complaint, they should investigate your claim and handle it appropriately.

However, if your complaint gets ignored or results in any form of retaliation, you have a right to seek legal help. Contact a sexual harassment lawyer in your state to learn more about your rights under federal and state laws.

A sexual harassment lawyer can help you file a charge with the proper agency or court to ensure your sexual harassment claim gets heard. They can help you collect evidence and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

If You’ve Suffered Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, Contact DSLG Employment Law.

Men in the workplace should not be afraid to report sexual harassment. They can experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact, and sexual comments just as women experience them. If you are a male victim of sexual harassment at work, the dedicated sexual harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles can help. Call us at 800.807.2209 for a free consultation.