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Can men be victims of sexual harassment?

When you think about sexual harassment in a workplace setting, you may envision situations where women are being harassed by male co-workers or superiors. Although this is the most common type of sexual harassment that occurs at work, there are situations where the victim of harassment is male. Male employees in California and throughout the nation can be harassed by women colleagues or women who are in positions of leadership in a company.

In fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that complaints involving male victims of sexual harassment make up 16.3 percent of all reported harassment cases. This number is low, as a number of male victims do not come forward and report the abuse that they experience on a regular basis. Not only are they afraid of the repercussions of making the situation known, but they may feel inadequate bringing the abuse to the attention of others as it may make the male victim look weak.

Male sexual harassment is similar to situations where women are victimized in that men may be asked to perform favors in order to advance in the company or keep their current position. It does not always have to go that far, however. Sexual harassment may simply involve a woman making inappropriate comments to a man in the workplace. For example, people who tell dirty jokes or make suggestive comments to their employees or co-workers may be considered a harasser.

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

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