Can Men Be Sexually Harassed?

While women make up the greatest portion of sexual harassment victims, men can also be sexually harassed. Both women and other men can sexually harass male employees in a California workplace, leading to a hostile or unwelcoming work environment. Male sexual harassment can interfere with a victim’s work productivity and cause issues such as lost wages and psychological distress.

Unique Challenges for Male Victims

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that 16.8% of sexual harassment charges filed in 2019 were by men. With 7,514 total charges filed, this means 1,262 were filed by male victims. This shows that while the majority of victims are women, male workplace sexual harassment is a real and pervasive problem. Yet despite having equal legal protections, male victims of sexual harassment often find it difficult to attain justice.

Men and women are protected equally by state and federal sexual harassment laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act states that it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against a worker for a protected class, including sex, gender and gender identity. California’s sexual harassment law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act, also protects employees from illegal discrimination based on sex, gender, gender expression and sexual orientation.

Male sexual harassment victims encounter unique challenges compared to female victims. They face different obstacles, such as scorn by coworkers or employers and not being believed. The common misconception that sexual harassment against men is not as serious as harassment against women can get in the way of a male victim achieving justice. Yet no one should have to deal with harassment or discrimination at work.

What to Do If You Are Sexually Harassed

Sexual harassment can include unwanted sexual touching, crude remarks or jokes, sexual innuendos, unsolicited sexual emails or texts, sexual images posted at work, or quid pro quo sexual harassment (this for that). If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace as a male, write down everything you remember about the incident for your own record. Include the date, time, location and the names of any eyewitnesses in your description. Then, go to your workplace’s Human Resources Department to file an official complaint.

Do not be afraid of reporting sexual harassment at work as a male victim. It is important to come forward not only for your own wellbeing but to prevent others in your workplace from becoming victims as well. Do not try to handle the issue yourself. Go through the protocols in place at your workplace for the best outcome. After reporting the incident to HR, make a note of who you spoke to and what he or she did to remedy the problem, if anything.

If reporting the sexual harassment to your HR Department or manager does not resolve the issue, file a formal complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC can review the facts of your case and visit your workplace for an investigation, if necessary. Then, the agency may request a hearing before a judge to decide if sexual harassment occurred. At this point, you and your employer may reach a settlement regarding the issue or you may have to file a lawsuit.

Contact a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Attorney

If your employer does not comply with the resolution created by the EEOC, or if the EEOC grants you the Right to Sue, you can file a lawsuit against your employer for workplace sexual harassment. Do not let fear of retaliation by your employer stop you from filing a harassment or discrimination lawsuit. Retaliation is against the law in California. A lawsuit can help you achieve justice and the financial compensation you deserve.

If you are a victim of male sexual harassment in Los Angeles, contact a sexual harassment attorney near you as soon as possible. An attorney can listen to your story, explain your legal rights, and help you hold a perpetrator or employer accountable. Call Mathew & George today at (310) 478-4349 for a free consultation.