Sexual-Harassment-Against-Men-in-the-Workplace.jpg (2149×1159)There has been a lot of talk of late about sexual harassment – but there tends to be an assumption made that the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is a man.

In fact, although statistics indicate it is less common, men can be victims of harassment both from women and from other men. A 2014 Australian study indicated that five percent of reported cares were men being harassed by women, and 11 percent were men being harassed by other men. (There were also some reports of women sexually harassing other women). A more recent study of harassment in general showed that 20% of American men surveyed had been victims of sexual harassment.

There are some issues when dealing with harassment incidents in which men are the victim:

  1. Men tend to under-report, especially if they are being harassed by a woman. As boys and men are raised to be sexually ‘forward’, it may appear to be ‘unmanly’ to admit that you were the victim.
  2. Some sexual harassment behavior between men may be mislabeled as something else. Sexual harassment between men includes allegations of homosexuality, homosexual slurs and in some cases accusing the victim of “effeminate” behavior. These all fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment, but may not be reported as such.
  3. Sexual harassment of men is often not taken seriously. Or men are told they should be able to “man up” and “deal with it” themselves.
  4. Gender harassment (that is to say hostile behavior based off of gender) is sometimes reported and considered separately from sexual harassment. Men often become victims of gender harassment if they take time off to care for their children or openly support feminism. Straight men who deviate from gender norms are most likely to experience gender harassment, followed by gay and bisexual men.

The truth is that men are victims of sexual harassment in much the same way as women. Claims have increased, and this is likely an unfortunate side effect of an increase in women in managerial positions – most sexual harassment complaints refer to a superior harassing an inferior. Companies need to address sexual harassment in general – the more lax the office environment about harassment, the more often it happens – and also the special needs of men. For example, men may need more reassurance than women that their complaint will not be made public, which can lead to more harassment. Men also need to know that harassment policies will be applied fairly and that their complaints will not be dismissed or, worse, turned back against them – there have been incidents where a complaint has come out and the victim has faced more sexual harassment, including questions about his sexuality if the perpetrator was another man.

The truth is, sadly, too many companies do not have a solid, fairly applied policy on sexual harassment. And regardless of the gender of the victim, sexual harassment causes significant psychological damage and lost productivity. Sexual harassment happens far more often than it is reported, and men are even less likely to report incidents than women.

What should men do if they are being sexually harassed?

Harassment, by definition, has to be unwelcome. In most cases, you should tell the harasser to stop, in as many words and, ideally, in front of witnesses. If you feel your personal safety would be endangered by confronting the harasser, then you should go straight to human resources. For sexual harassment to be illegal it has to either be severe or pervasive and generally has to create a hostile work environment or be quid pro quo (sleep with me and/sleep with me or). That is to say, the occasional off color joke is not going to get a response in the law (and is more likely to stop if you make it clear it is unwanted).

You should write down what happened and yes, you should report it, if you can. In some cases, there may not be anyone to report to (in a small company, if the perpetrator is the owner, your best option might be to quietly start looking for another job). In most cases, though, you can report the harassment to human resources or to a manager who is not involved. Ask HR what the complaint procedure is.

If you get no support, then you should file a complaint with the EEOC or with your state’s fair employment agency and then contact a lawyer who specializes in employment law and workplace discrimination. Do so as soon as you know your employer is not going to deal with it as you only have 300 days to file a complaint.

Men can be victims of sexual harassment too – and men should not be afraid to stand up for their rights and deal with the situation. If you need an employment lawyer, you should check out Aiman-Smith & Marcy. We specialize in helping employees and have workplace harassment as a major practice area, so we have the experience needed to help you file a sexual harassment complaint and get the support (and compensation) you need and deserve.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986