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Ways Men Get Sexually Harassed in the Workplace
In addition to “the slap heard around the world,” the 2022 Academy Awards broadcast featured a female host performing a cringy routine that involved frisking four male actors. Unwanted touching violates Academy standards of behavior, and since the awards are an industry event that actors are expected to attend, it may violate sex discrimination laws. The routine was an example of how men can be harassed. Learn three ways men get sexually harassed in the workplace.
Men are starting to speak up about unacceptable behavior in the workplace perpetrated by both male and female coworkers and supervisors. Harassment toward men in the workplace often takes the form of offensive sexual jokes, retaliation, and unwanted touching.
Offensive Sexual Jokes
Men are conditioned to think that jokes about sexual orientation, sexual practices, the dimensions of body parts, or sexual experiences are on par for the course in the workplace, and may not realize that not only is this behavior way out of line, but it may also rise to the level of sexual harassment. When explicit jokes or conversations are targeted persistently at one person or a group of individuals, the victims are subjected to a hostile work environment that makes it difficult or impossible to perform their jobs. That’s illegal harassment, and it happens to men more often than you think.
A demotion or termination of employment for refusing sexual advances, objecting to sexualized jokes, or complaining about the display of pornographic images could constitute unlawful retaliation. Men who have experienced retaliatory actions in the workplace for defending themselves from or complaining about sexual harassment may have a legal claim for sex discrimination and should seek the advice of an experienced sexual harassment lawyer.
Men have reported a stunning array of shocking incidents of unwanted touching, from crotch-grabbing and butt-slapping to lap-sitting and forcible kissing. Like female victims, many of the men who report these incidents work in hospitality or entertainment, but also in public safety (lifeguards) and health care (nursing).
Regardless of who is on the giving or receiving end of this type of attention, consent is always key. If non-consensual sexual attention is happening to you or someone else at work, it's harassment. Getting comfortable speaking out about it among men– especially when it happens to men– helps make the workplace safer for everyone.
The myth that men can’t be victims of sexual harassment is just that: a myth. Above are just three ways men get sexually harassed in the workplace. Where harassment happens, men are starting to speak up, consult lawyers, and file discrimination claims.