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Men can be victims of sexual harassment at work

While workplace harassment is often discussed as if it's a woman's problem, the reality is that anyone can be a victim of workplace harassment. Men also face harassment in the workplace, many times dealing with sexual harassment.

Approximately a third of all working men reported that they had been victims of sexual harassment at least once in the last year. In 2011, there were 7,809 sexual harassment charges filed that went through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and just over 16 percent of them were filed by men. Clearly, men are impacted by harassment, even if it appears to happen less often than it does to women.

The issue with men and harassment is that many don't report the issue. As a result, the above statistics could be significantly skewed. Often, men don't believe they can be harassed or may not think that people will take them seriously if they complain.

What is sexual harassment in a work environment?

There are some different kinds of harassment that people can face on the job. Sexual harassment may be:

  • Unwanted sexual attention, such as pressuring someone for a date or touching them sexually.
  • Hostile behavior aimed at a particular gender. This can result in mocking behavior, offensive actions or violent threats. The behavior might include off-color joking or degrading comments based on gender.
  • Sexual coercion, in which the person is bribed or threatened to enter into a relationship with the person harassing them. For instance, an employer might threaten a person's job if they don't agree to having a sexual relationship.

It should not be surprising that both men and women face these kinds of harassment on the job. For women, they may be made fun of for being "weak" or whistled at to say they're attractive. Men, on the other hand, might be mocked for being too effeminate, or they could be harassed to be in a relationship with a superior.

As a man, it is your right to work in a work environment where you don't have to worry about threatening behaviors, abuse or unwanted sexual advances. If your workplace has become hostile, it's important to report it and describe your situation to your human resources department or to reach out to your attorney for assistance. There is no reason that any person, whether male or female, should endure this kind of unnecessary and hurtful behavior.

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