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Can men be victims of sexual harassment?

When you generally think of sexual harassment occurring in the workplace, you may envision men making inappropriate comments or gestures toward their women coworkers or employees. However, a greater number of men are coming forward as victims of sexual harassment at work. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, men accounted for 11 percent of all sexual harassment claims in 1997. That number has increased to 16.3 percent and some say is low, due to the fact that men who are being harassed are often hesitant to come forward with this information.

In recent media, more women have been put on administrative leave or disciplined for committing acts of sexual harassment on their male employees. Women may make unwarranted and/or unwelcome comments to males, propositioning them to be intimate in order to move up in the company or keep their job. This increase in incidents may, in part, be correlated to the rising number of women in high positions, such as CEOs and managers in the workplace.

In one case, a man’s female superior kept making comments referring to her attraction to the male employee. She often asked when they were going to get together and if he would stay late to flirt or get intimate with her. In some instances, she would draw pictures of the two of them together and touch the man inappropriately. These types of cases are examples of how women can be sexual harassers.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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