Complaints based on sexual harassment of men are on the rise in California

Male Sexual Harassment in California

Traditionally, sexual harassment in the workplace has been thought of as a women’s rights issue. And while harassment of women is and has been a pervasive problem, it’s important to keep in mind that men can also be victims of sexual harassment. In fact, judging by data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, male sexual harassment may be on the rise in California—or at least more men are speaking out about it.

Male Sexual Harassment by the Numbers

Reports of male sexual harassment in California are increasing, both in number and as a percentage of total sexual harassment complaints.

In fiscal year 1997, there were a total of 490 sexual harassment complaints made to the EEOC by Californians. Of these complaints, 438 came from women and 52 came from men. Twenty years later, there were 339 complaints, 270 made by women and 69 made by men. It is quite interesting to see that the number of complaints regarding female sexual harassment actually decreased about 38 percent, while complaints regarding male sexual harassment increased about 32 percent. Men accounted for more of the total complaints in FY 2017, with 20 percent of the complaints coming from men in FY 2017 compared to 10 percent in FY 1997.

The statistics do not distinguish between harassment by men and harassment by women. However, according to an EEOC spokesman, it is highly likely that the majority of complaints involve men harassing other men.

Why Are Male on Male Sexual Harassment Complaints Increasing?

In all likelihood, men are behaving pretty much the same in the workplace today as they did 20 years ago. What has changed is how their behavior is perceived. The kind of sexualized, macho talk and horseplay that used to be accepted is now actionable, thanks to landmark cases such as Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, which the Supreme Court ruled on in 1998. In this case, an oil worker was sodomized with a bar of soap and subjected to other forms of sexual harassment by his male coworkers.

What to Do If You Are Being Sexual Harassed

A variety of behaviors can constitute male sexual harassment, from sexual advances to requests for sexual favors to outright sexual assault. In fact, any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that disrupts your work performance or creates a hostile work environment can be grounds for a male sexual harassment complaint.

If you suspect you have been the victim of male sexual harassment, it’s time to talk to an attorney who understands. Call The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 now for a free consultation.