Sexual harassment in the workplace is a real problem with severe consequences. Although it is generally more common to hear of female workers experiencing this misconduct, anyone can be a victim. For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against a Hawaii restaurant and HR company for sexual harassment of male employees.
Examples of male workplace sexual harassment
Workplace sexual harassment targeting males may involve perpetrators of any gender, and it can happen in several ways. Here are some common examples.
- Unwelcome advances. These cover behaviors of a sexual nature that the victim was not asking for. Examples might range from the perpetrator invading the victim’s personal space to exposing themselves sexually.
- Verbal harassment. Examples of this misconduct include making sexual innuendos or comments about the victim’s body parts, calling them intimate names or asking unwanted questions about their sex life.
- Physical harassment. The perpetrator might touch the victim, especially on their private parts, whether blatantly or supposedly by accident. They might also kiss, caress, or rub themselves against the victim or their clothes.
- Unwanted attention. This involves the perpetrator paying too much attention to the victim through behaviors like staring at them up and down and following them wherever they go.
- Suggestive messages. Some perpetrators continue their misconduct outside the workplace by sending lewd messages, photos and videos through email and social media.
- Insulting comments. Sometimes, perpetrators make insulting remarks about the victim’s sexual orientation and history.
- Sexual favors. This misconduct involves a co-worker or superior asking the victim to perform sexual acts in exchange for a favor, such as employment, a promotion or job security.
Sexual harassment has serious consequences, especially for the victim. Unfortunately, reporting such incidents sometimes results in retaliation. For workers who are victims of sexual harassment, an employment attorney can help them fight for their rights to a safe workplace.