According (EEOC), Sexual harassment at work is defined as “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”
When we think about sexual harassment in the workplace, a pretty clear image comes to mind. Traditionally it’s an intern, secretary, or other worker who is lower on the totem pole being pressured by someone above them for sexual favors, or constantly presenting them with unwelcome sexual advances. However, while sexual harassment is still primarily men harassing women, the numbers are beginning to reflect that it isn’t only women being harassed in the workplace. Men are victimized by this crime, as well.
And the first step to solving a problem, once you admit it exists, is to learn more about it.
4 Facts About Sexual Harassment Against Men in The Workplace
Fact #1: It’s More Common Than You’d Think
In a recent survey reported on Psychology Today, it was found that about one-third of all working men reported at least one form of sexual harassment in the previous year. Of the 7,809 sexual harassment charges filed in 2011 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC), 16.1 percent were filed by men. By 2013, this had risen to 17.6 percent.
Fact #2: Complaints from men are on the rise
More recently, although the majority of the 2015 EEOC cases were filed by women, “…the percentage of sexual harassment claims filed by men has risen considerably – 92% of all claims were filed by women in 1990 v 83% in 2015.”
It is important to note however, that this number only reflects the number of men that report their issues to the EEOC. Men are less likely to shed light on sexual harassment in the workplace for fear of being mocked, and even less likely to report to a government agency.
Fact #3: Complaints Tend To Be Against Those in More Senior Positions
One aspect of the traditional image of workplace sexual harassment we do get right, according to Science Daily, is that it tends to come from above. While it is possible for someone in a lesser position to sexually harass someone above them on the job ladder, it is rare enough to be the exception that proves the rule. This implies that part of sexual harassment is the inherent power dynamic that comes with someone in a more junior position. The harasser has more power, therefore they can harass with impunity (or at least less chance of punishment), than if the positions were reversed.
Fact #4: Men in Sexual Minorities Are More Vulnerable to Harassment
Minorities tend to be more vulnerable in most sections of society. This tends to be true whether that minority is ethnic, religious, gender, or otherwise. So it should come as no surprise that, according to Psychology Today, men in a sexual minority are more vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace.
That is true across the board when it comes to different types of sexual harassment, as well. Gay men, for example, may be more likely to receive blatant threats to their jobs or advancement if sexual favors aren’t performed, but they may also be the butt of hurtful jokes, or the target of slurs and harmful comments. Both of these are forms of sexual harassment, since they target the sexuality of the victim.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, and you need someone to help you find justice, contact us at Aiman-Smith & Marcy. We are here to stop unethical, and unequal, business practices, and to make sure victims have a voice. So if no one else is listening to you, we will.