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Uncommon Sexual Harassment Cases

July 13th, 2017

Sexual harassment at work is most often thought of as a woman being pressured by her boss for sexual favors, or harassed by co-workers; but other kinds of sexual harassment are equally prevalent, even if less talked about.

Men Suffer Sexual Harassment at Work

Men can also be the victims of sexual harassment. However, men are statistically less likely to report it. A man who comes forward often fears the stigma of being seen as weak and vulnerable. Male victims therefore remain virtually invisible. Indeed, in male dominated societies such as India, the problem of male sexual harassment is not acknowledged – so much so that the Indian legal system does not even recognize that men can be victims of sexual harassment.

Men can also harass other men. Often, inappropriate behavior gets brushed off as “horseplay” instead of being reported as sexual harassment. In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled in Oncale vs. Sundowner Offshore Services that a male can be discriminated against by members of the same sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Joseph Oncale filed his suit against his employer after being forcibly subjected to sex-related humiliating actions on several occasions. His complaints to supervisors had no effect and eventually he had to quit his job.

In a more recent case from last year, a plaintiff suffering from PTSD resulting from harassment at work also quit his job. He alleged that a male co-worker repeatedly touched, slapped him, and rubbed his crotch against him. Management reports labeled the situation “horseplay sexual harassment,” something that would not be possible if the same things had happened to a woman.

“Double Standard” Case

In another case recently reported, a female marketing executive was fired from her job because her male colleagues did not approve of her behavior, which they found too aggressive. The same behavior was prized and expected of male executives, but resented when present in a woman. The female executive was targeted and run out of the company. She was deemed “too aggressive, too emotional and too profane.” An arbitrator awarded the woman $41 million in damages saying, “it is clear from the company’s actions and collective attitude that a woman is not permitted to act like a man.” The plaintiff was the only one faulted for aggressive behavior.

No matter what the circumstances of sexual harassment, whether the harassment involves two people of the same or different gender, all of it is prohibited by state and federal laws. Employers must not only make clear their workplace anti-harassment policies, they must rigorously enforce them or pay the consequences.

Last year, a restaurant company in Memphis settled an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sexual harassment lawsuit for $450,000 after 15 female employees complained of being harassed by the general manager and the bar manager. Besides the settlement fee, the company must provide anti-harassment training, maintain workplace cameras, report future harassment complaints to the EEOC for three years, monitor behavior in the workplace, and provide notice of the settlement to its employees in Memphis.

Delaware County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Fight for Victims of Sexual Harassment

If you have experienced sexual harassment in your place of work, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced Delaware County sexual harassment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. to discuss your legal options. We take harassment seriously and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call 215-569-1999 to schedule a free and confidential consultation in our Center City Philadelphia office.


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