If you think about sexual harassment in the workplace, you are probably picturing a woman. You might be thinking about a woman getting touched inappropriately, though there are times when it is suggested that, if they sleep with their boss, they may get a better title in the office.
However, sexual harassment is not just about women. Men can be harassed too!
The reason that most people don’t think about men being harassed is because they don’t want to talk about it. Many are embarrassed to be harassed by a woman. They don’t want it to seem like they are weak. They don’t want to let others know that a woman has power over them.
However, men are not only harassed by women. Many are harassed by other men, which can be just as embarrassing. Whether they are gay or not, most men don’t want to admit that another man is bothering them sexually.
Most men also feel like they can handle the problem by themselves. They are strong enough to take care of the woman or man who is harassing them, without any help. They see going for help as a sign of weakness. They also don’t want their co-workers to think less of them, for admitting that they are being sexually harassed.
So, what does sexual harassment against a man look like?
Women can ogle men, making them uncomfortable. They may touch them inappropriately or even smack them on their rear end. When a man is sexually harassed by a woman, it can really intimidate them. They feel like they have to act like a man and take it.
When men sexually harass other men, they can do it in many ways. Sexual orientation bullying is done when straight men bully men who are gay. They may make comments about their manliness, as well about comments about their lifestyle choice. It can include comments, gestures, and even threats. A gay man may harass other gay men to make himself feel more manly. This is especially true with those who are not openly gay at work.
Men can also proposition other men, making unwanted advances toward other men, both straight and gay ones. They can proposition them verbally or physically, online and off, until the man is very uncomfortable.
Sexual harassment can also include an over-sexualized workplace. This means that men in the office are abrasive and talk about sexual things. Though this may have been the normal office behavior a few years ago, now it can be considered sexual harassment.
Men don’t have to tolerate offices where they are not comfortable due to the talk that goes around the office. Cussing, sexual references, and talk of pornography don’t have to be tolerated.
The truth is that there are many more cases of sexual harassment than those that are reported, especially with men. They fear the fall-out and worry that no one will believe them. They also don’t want to be seen as someone who tells on others.
Sexual harassment should be reported, or nothing is going to change. If you feel like you are being harassed, you need to stand up and file a report. You should hire a lawyer to help you through this difficult time.
Aiman-Smith & Marcy focuses on employment law, consumer fraud, and class actions in California. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are being sexually harassed. We can go through your options so that you can make an informed decision.