There is an old myth that, “Men never say no,” when a woman comes on to them. This is not the case. Men are on the receiving end of sexual harassment at almost the same level as women. One in five women suffers the indignity, and so does one in seven men. Men, however, often don’t report that they’ve been harassed for fear of being ridiculed. They are afraid that their sexual prowess, libido, or both will be seen as deficient and also that they are “less than a real man.” Such societal pigeonholing is both destructive and counterproductive.
No one should feel shame in coming forward. After all, all people are entitled to body autonomy no matter their genders. In situations where women harass men, the dynamic is about power more than about sexual attraction. Interestingly, that is the same dynamic as when men harass women. The only difference between the two is the perception of “traditional gender roles” in any relationship, and society seems to be changing that perception in the world of the 21st century.
One way that the perception of women harassing men has changed dramatically is that the mocking and ridicule a man receives because he reported harassment from a woman is also classified as harassment. Rather than the “quid pro quo” version of harassment leveled at the man by his female boss, it is, instead, of the “hostile work environment” variety. In these cases, where men feel the brunt of harassment from multiple directions at once, having an attorney with the correct practice area and focus on one’s side is a very good idea.
Another facet of harassment that men might have to face is the proverbial “woman scorned.” By law, a boss is not allowed to retaliate against a good-faith report of sexual harassment. As long as someone makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the harassment is not OK, any further pursuit by the woman in charge is considered further harassment. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, termination, demotion, reassignment to a bad position, or denial of employee benefits or pay.
These retaliatory practices can also include “half measures,” such as purposely paying wrong amounts, removing the person from a chosen benefits package, or incorrectly calculating vacation. Often, what’s done is subtle and confusing, so it’s difficult to know what has happened and what can be done. This is another way that an employment lawyer with a focus on sexual harassment can help.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency tasked with handling workplace issues, which include sexual harassment. Male victims can file with them in the same way as female victims or victims of other genders. These victims may also investigate filing complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights or the New York City Commission on Human Rights. If they so desire, they may also file a lawsuit with the New York State Supreme court.
No matter which choice you decide is best for you, we will act as your advocate at the negotiating table or in the courtroom, whichever is applicable. Because we know and understand the extra stress that comes along with filing such a report or a lawsuit, our staff will endeavor to make your visit at the firm as comfortable and stress-free as possible. You deserve to be able to protect your rights and to keep your dignity at the same time. To take advantage of our three decades’ experience in dealing with these kinds of harassment in the workplace, give us a call today or come by the office to set up a free initial consultation.