When people talk about sexual harassment in the workplace, a lot of people have an image in their head of a woman being the victim while the man is the aggressor. While a majority of the time that imagery holds, men also are facing an increasing level of sexual harassment in the workplace. This is a problem that not many men talk about and that’s a problem.
1 in 5 Workplace Sexual Harassment Victims are Men
In December 2017, CNBC conducted a poll that found that nearly 1 in 5 workplace sexual harassment complaints came from men. The poll showed that almost 20% of adult American workers have experienced sexual harassment at work. Within that number, men accounted for 10% while women accounted for 27%. The margin of error for this poll was 3.5% and was conducted across the country with 800 respondents. Even though the study was not a huge sample considering the size of America, it’s fairly alarming that men accounted for such a number.
As #MeToo continues to reverberate through the country a few years after it began, men are now being more vocal about their own experiences. The worst part about men being victims of sexual harassment at work is that they are often not believed by their employer or they are simply told to just go about their day and ignore the advances. Due to the lack of companies taking men being victims seriously, more are willing to see a sexual harassment lawyer and file complaints against their place of work.
What Prevents More Men from Speaking Out About Sexual Harassment at Work?
It’s hard to know just how many men have been sexually harassed at their workplace and how many are filing complaints about sexual harassment. Looking at a report of claims submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2015 can give us an idea. In the 2015 report, it shows that 6,822 people filed claims over sexual harassment. Out of those claims around 17.1% had been filed by men, which we know is only a slight fraction of the true number of men that experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
There are multiple reasons why men don’t speak out as often, including that they are not believed nearly as easily as women. Some employers can’t fathom a woman being the aggressor and that the man involved didn’t want the advances. Co-workers also could mock the man for coming forward with a complaint, which could include mocking them for reporting the incident and causing a scene.
If the sexual harassment involved a man harassing another man, then there are also issues with the victim questioning their sexuality regarding the incident. It’s something men have trouble talking about with their employer and especially have difficulty talking about with a workplace harassment lawyer. Men also tend to think they don’t need help resolving an issue with another person. They are more likely to feel that they can handle the problem and resolve it without outside intervention.
Sexual Harassment Comes in Many Forms
Some of the issues that men seem to experience when it comes to speaking out are that they don’t believe their situation is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment comes in many forms and doesn’t always mean it’s someone trying to force you to have sex. The harassment can be in the form of comments and remarks that are offensive and sexual. Nicknames for you that are sexual or crude is also considered sexual harassment, such as calling you a name of a male body part or using slang terminology.
While it can be as obvious as unwanted touching or forced advances, it also can be more subdued such as a female asking out a male on a date repeatedly after being turned down. Posting or showing pictures that are sexual in nature to someone without their consent is sexual harassment too, so a woman showing a man her naked selfie counts as sexual harassment. We also don’t think of jokes as being harassment, but joking sexually or telling obscene jokes can also be considered sexual harassment.
Even When Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Involves a Male Victim It’s Still Illegal
Men seem to have trouble coming forward to acknowledge they were victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, but it’s important to talk about with the employer in hopes it resolves the issue. Your employer is obligated to comply with the Anti-discrimination laws that are on the books, including the laws that say you should be able to work without any form of harassment. If you’ve reported the incident to your workplace and the employer hasn’t resolved the issue, that’s when you should think about seeking out a sexual harassment lawyer.
You only have a limited amount of time to file a claim against your employer for sexual harassment, including both federally and at a state level. The best advice for men is to begin speaking up to your employer about sexual harassment in the workplace and to consult an employment lawyer when necessary. It’s important women are held accountable in just the same manner men are in the world of #MeToo.