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A Minority Report: Sexual Harassment of Men in the Workplace

By Dan Atkerson on August 19, 2015

Father Dressed For Work Holding Baby In Bedroom Sexual harassment in the workplace has been under the microscope for some time now. Things aren’t like they used to be “back in the day.” Go watch Mad Men, and you’ll be appalled at the difference in the way women were treated then as opposed to now. While there are still numerous cases of women being sexually harassed in the workplace every day, we have made gargantuan leaps of progress toward making women feel safer in the workplace. But for all our progression, we still overlook a large group who are also potential victims of sexual harassment. Men; that’s like, half of all people.

According to recent studies done by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, about half of all women claim to have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, and about a third of men claim the same. A third of all men in the workplace claim to have been sexually harassed, and yet we rarely hear about it. The EEOC says that only around 15 percent of sexual harassment cases are filed by men.

Sexual harassment cases filed by men continue to be disregarded and the idea as a whole that men can also be victims of sexual harassment is not really taken very seriously. The most common male targets of harassment are men who display what are considered to be less traditionally masculine traits. Gay men, for example, are very common targets, as are men who take a leave of absence to care for children, or men who support feminist ideals.

Unsurprisingly, the chances of being sexually harassed increase dramatically in places with weaker policies for disciplining sexual harassment. Some organizations are just stereotypically more tolerant of harassment in the workplace, but that does not excuse it.

The first step to stopping any sexual harassment is to confront the person responsible. Tell them it is inappropriate and that they should stop. If that does not seem to have gotten through to them, inform a manager or supervisor. If the harassment continues, file a complaint with the EEOC and contact an experienced employment attorney.

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