When most people think about workplace sexual harassment, they assume that the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is a male in a higher-ranking position. Although this situation does describe a great number of sexual harassment cases, this is not the only type of sexual harassment that exists. Men can also be victims of sexual harassment at the hands of both women and other men.
In one survey, 10 percent of male respondents reported having been sexually harassed at work. Furthermore, almost one out of every five sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are filed by men. Although men and women receive equal protection under the law against workplace sexual harassment, male sexual harassment victims often face different obstacles than female victims do.
Men May Hesitate to Report Sexual Harassment Due to Fears About Being Taken Seriously
In the movie “Horrible Bosses,” Jennifer Aniston plays an aggressive and exceedingly sexually-forward dentist. Throughout the movie, she repeatedly attempts to convince her male dental hygienist to have sexual relations with her—even going so far as grabbing the hygienist’s genitals against his will in one scene and locking him in a room with her in another scene. Although this comedy received positive reviews, many people have suggested that the audience would not have reacted the same way to this harassing behavior if the perpetrator was the male character and the female was the victim.
There is a major misconception in popular culture that sexual harassment against men is not as significant as harassment against women, or worse, that it is something to laugh about. Many male victims stay silent regarding harassment because they are afraid that they will not be taken seriously or will be retaliated against for reporting the harassment.
What to Do If You Are a Male Victim of Sexual Harassment
According to both federal and state law, men have the same rights to harassment-free and discrimination-free workplaces as women do. No one should have to put up with disparaging remarks, sexual behavior, offensive jokes, or unwanted physical contact at work. If you are a man who has been sexually harassed at work, there are several steps you should immediately take. Keep all records of emails, text messages, memos, and other documents that are in any way discriminatory or harassing in nature. Keep a written log of all instances of sexual harassment including the date and time, who perpetuated the harassment, what you did in response, and any witnesses to the harassment. Next, contact a sexual harassment lawyer to learn more about your legal options moving forward.
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Regardless of gender or sexuality, all workers deserve to feel safe and be free from harassment at work. If you have experienced sexual harassment and you want to learn more about your rights and the legal options, contact Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Naperville sexual harassment attorney by calling us at 630-665-7300 today.