Sexual harassment is a genderless issue with female & male victims

Posted in Sexual Harassment on April 11, 2014

Sexual harassment is often thought of as a women’s issue. While it’s true that women are statistically more likely to be victims of workplace sexual harassment, men can be targeted as well.

This may seem obvious to some, but there are still many Americans who believe that men aren’t “allowed” to claim sexual harassment, especially if the unwanted attention they receive is from a woman. Instead, they should just “man up” or dismiss the attention as flattery. This attitude is an unhealthy one, and prevents some men from reporting legitimate incidents of sexual harassment.

One recent case from Texas is an example. A jury recently awarded Texas deputy constable approximately $567,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against his female former boss. The man alleged that his former boss sexually harassed him for months, including making sexually suggestive comments, touching him and forcing him to touch her.

Specifically, the woman allegedly pulled her shirt over his head on numerous occasions in an attempt to get him to “motorboat” her breasts. She also allegedly gave him unwanted lap dances and made repeated offers of oral sex.

The plaintiff’s attorney said that the jury awarded his client $200,000 more than what he was seeking in the lawsuit. He added that the jury’s decision is particularly noteworthy because “they rejected this whole notion that you get away with it because you are a female.”

It is important to remember that sexual harassment tends to be more about power than about lust. Therefore, it is ultimately a genderless issue. Men and women can be both victims and perpetrators, and victims can be harassed by others of the same gender.

If you believe you have been sexually harassed, please do not get hung up on the gender specifics of the case. After reporting the incident(s) to the appropriate employees at your company, you may also wish to speak to an experienced employment law attorney.

Source: CBS Houston, “Jury Awards Man Over $500K In ‘Motorboat’ Sexual Harassment Suit Against Female Boss,” March 24, 2014