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Why Men Are Less Likely to Report Sexual Harassment

by Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP
March 21, 2019

While the #MeToo movement has created awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace, many are still hesitant to report it — especially men. Even though the nature of sexual harassment is serious, men are often taken less seriously due to the stigmas and misconceptions associated with male behaviors. Here are some reasons why men are more likely to sweep their sexual harassment experience under the rug.

Why Don't Men Report Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Male sexual abuse and harassment often come with many stigmas. Society expects men to behave “manly” and hide their vulnerabilities. There’s also the misconception that it’s impossible for a man to be sexually assaulted or harassed by a woman. Men may not report sexual harassment for the following reasons:

  • Fear of being mocked by co-workers and friends.
  • Fear of retaliation from their employer — (wrongful termination).
  • Fear that being harassed by another male may implicate their own sexuality.

What to Do if You're a Victim of Workplace Harassment

If a man experiences sexual harassment at work, there are specific steps he should take immediately. These include:

  • Preserving all records of discriminatory or harassing communication such as emails, text messages, memos, and other documents.
  • Keeping a written record of all incidents of sexual harassment, including the date and time, the perpetrator, the victim's response, and any witnesses to the incident is recommended.
  • While it may be uncomfortable, you will also need to report the incident(s) to your human resources department. It’s also important to note the details of your experience should it escalate further and a lawsuit becomes necessary.

It’s critical to record the following information:

  • Times, dates, and locations where the sexual harassment occurred
  • Names of all parties involved
  • How the sexual harassment encounter made you feel
  • How your work performance has been affected
  • The impact of the harassment on your overall well-being

Common Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Both men and women may be subject to the following types of sexual harassment:

  • Quid Pro Quo Harassment
    “Quid pro quo” means “this for that” in Latin. This type of harassment may occur when a supervisor asks or hints for sexual favors in return for certain employee benefits (i.e., promotions, trips, and/or raises).
  • Hostile Work Environment
    Being subjected to a hostile work environment could include unwelcome sexual advances, gestures or jokes, which can make an employee feel intimidated or threatened. A hostile work environment may not necessarily be prompted by a supervisor — co-workers, clients, and other business-related associates could be to blame as well.

Statistics About Sexual Harassment Against Men

  • Many researchers believe that at least 1 in 6 men have expereinced sexual abuse or assault at some point in their lives.
  • At least 7-10% of men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • According to one study, 62% of male harassment victims claim that their harasser was a woman.

Remember that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all employees are protected against employment discrimiation based on sex, race, color, religion, and national origin.

Legal Help for Victims of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a sensitive issue and can be difficult for men to speak out against their harasser. Men are entitled to the same protection against harassment and discrimination at work as women under federal and state laws. No one should have to tolerate any form of offensive behavior, including unwanted physical contact, sexual advances, discriminatory remarks, or inappropriate jokes in the workplace.

If you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in the Los Angeles area, our team at Levin & Nalbandyan can help. Contact our employment lawyers today to discuss your legal options in a confidential consultation.

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