Many people automatically associate sexual harassment with female victims, but this isn’t always what happens. There are many times in which men are the victims. There’s a chance that the harassment doesn’t look the same for men as it does for women.
Sexual harassment doesn’t have to involve physical touching. Instead, it can include less-obvious behaviors, but they’re all aimed at the person because of their gender. Because of this, sexual harassment and gender harassment are tightly intertwined.
What types of harassment might men experience at work?
One particularly problematic form of harassment is based on how “masculine” the man behaves. There’s sometimes a thought that making fun of someone through passive-aggressive comments because they don’t behave according to traditional gender norms is acceptable. Men shouldn’t have to deal with offhanded comments about not being a ‘real man” or needing to “man up” because they don’t conform to gender stereotypes. Nor should they be teased about a “feminine” voice, being smaller or shorter than average and so on.
Employers shouldn’t ever laugh off those types of behaviors. Instead, it should be clear that harassment of any sort isn’t allowed in the workplace. There must be a clear procedure for filing complaints and for investigating these matters.
Anyone who’s had to deal with sexual or gender harassment at work should ensure they learn about their legal options. Filing a complaint at work about the behavior shouldn’t lead to negative employment actions, but employers sometimes retaliate. Working with someone who’s familiar with this type of matter is beneficial since they can help you determine your next steps.