Thanks to the popularity of the Me Too movement, virtually every American realizes the pervasiveness of sexual harassment among women. While female employees may be the targets of illegal sexual harassment at work more than their male counterparts, men can be victims of sexual harassment too.
According to some studies, 34% of men report having experienced verbal sexual harassment in their lives, with another 22% saying they have been victims of cyber sexual harassment. Remarkably, 13% of men assert their sexual harassment occurred at work. Social stigma, though, likely results in underreporting of workplace sexual harassment among male victims.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition of sexual harassment includes any unwanted verbal or physical contact. While overly sexualized words and groping clearly constitute sexual harassment, illegal conduct may be subtler.
Your reporting options
If you work in a place that has a human resources department, your first option for fighting sexual harassment at work is likely to report the misconduct to HR. Otherwise, assuming your harasser is not your manager, you may be able to notify your boss.
Federal law prohibits your employer from retaliating against you. Therefore, you should not face adverse employment action for trying to free yourself from harassment.
A legal solution
Until society evolves further, your sexual harassment claim may not be something your employer takes seriously. Luckily, you probably have the right to file an official complaint with the EEOC or the Texas Workforce Commission. To bolster your complaint, you may want to keep a contemporaneous journal about your harassment, gather relevant documents and collect other evidence.
Regardless of a person’s sex, no one should face harassment at work. Ultimately, while it may be difficult, pushing back against illegal sexual harassment may be necessary to protect both your mental state and your career.