Male Sexual Harassment Victims

It is much more common to hear about sexual harassment involving a female victim and a male perpetrator than the other way around. Yet females are also capable of being predatory – and often are. Sexism, sexual harassment and discrimination can go in both directions. The failure to shine a light on male sexual harassment victims can lead to them suffering in silence and never seeking the justice that they deserve against their perpetrators.

Surprising Statistics Behind Male Sexual Harassment 

Men can be victimized by sexual harassers just as easily as women in the workplace. Although it is not as common, this does not mean it does not happen. According to data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in 2020, 16.8 percent of all sexual harassment charges were filed by men. This equated to almost one in five sexual harassment complaints.

The number of sexual harassment claims filed by men has stayed relatively consistent, around 16 to 18 percent, for the past decade – several thousand complaints annually. Keep in mind that many organizations believe that male sexual harassment is widely underreported, meaning these numbers are low, due to concerns about the stigma or embarrassment of coming forward.

What Does Male Sexual Harassment Look Like?

Male sexual harassment takes many of the same forms as female sexual harassment. It can refer to unwanted sexual touching, jokes or remarks, sexual innuendos, requests for sexual favors, or being asked out on a date. Any unwelcome or nonconsensual actions or behaviors of a sexual nature against a male worker can constitute sexual harassment. These actions may come from a male or female perpetrator. They can come from coworkers, supervisors, bosses, customers and others in the workplace.

There are two main types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment means this for that. It refers to the offer of a perk or workplace advantage, such as a promotion, in exchange for a sexual favor. It can also refer to the threat of adverse employment action if the male worker does not comply with the request. Hostile work environment means that the sexual harassment has become so great – or is so severe – as to make the worker feel unsafe, unwelcome or unproductive at work. 

What Rights Do Male Sexual Harassment Victims Have in California?

The law protects all sexual harassment victims equally. Men are treated to the same rights, protections and legal options as women who face sexual harassment at work in California. The EEOC does not discriminate between male and female claimants. However, male workers can face unique obstacles and challenges when coming forward. 

Male victims are often less inclined to speak out about sexual harassment for fear of scorn, embarrassment and further harassment, as well as fear of retaliation. They may also stay quiet for fear of not being believed or not being taken seriously. Sexual harassment involving female perpetrators and male victims is often made a joke in the media, making it harder for real-life male victims to come forward. No one should have to put up with sexual harassment at work, however.

What to Do if You Face Sexual Harassment as a Male Worker in California

If you are being harassed at work as a male, you have rights. Start by documenting the incident in detail. Then, go to your employer or human resources department to file an official complaint against the perpetrator. Do not be afraid or discouraged about speaking up. If your company does not do anything to stop the perpetrator or reimburse you for your related losses, go to the EEOC to file an official complaint. The EEOC can complete its own investigation and arrange a better remedy on your behalf. From there, contact a sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles for a free consultation. An attorney can help you explore the right to file a lawsuit.