While most people think of women as the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, they are not the only ones who are targets. Men are also recipients of unwanted sexual comments, gestures and suggestions made by their female co-workers or bosses. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law prohibits people from requesting sexual favors, making unwelcome sexual advances or using profound language toward another person in the workplace.
Although the EEOC, reported that women are six times more likely to receive this type of harassment, sexual abuse toward men should not be overlooked. Within a 10-year period, the number of claims filed by men who have been sexually harassed went from 8 percent to 16 percent. These numbers are thought to be low, as some men are afraid that reporting situations of sexual harassment may ruin their reputation or their career.
Same sex harassment involving men harassing men is also a problem. In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that people are protected from same-sex harassment under federal anti-discrimination laws. In one case, a male employee was constantly having his back side pinched and his genitals grabbed by another male employee. After one incident, the victim yelled at the perpetrator and made a scene in front of customers. He was fired as a result. The EEOC filed a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf and found that he was not the only target of harassment.
Employers are responsible for training employees on avoiding sexual harassment and are required to take action if employees report that they have been harassed by another employee.