Sexual Harassment Towards Men

May 13 07:47 2006 Max Weber Print This Article

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Sexual assault is any form of unwanted sexual activity. Forced sexual activity may include kissing,Guest Posting touching, oral sex, and vaginal/anal intercourse. Sexual assaults occur in all ethnic, religious, and economic groups. It can take place in heterosexual and in same-sex relationships. Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

• The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.

• The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.

• The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

• Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

• The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

It is helpful for the victim to directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.

The mission of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as set forth in its strategic plan, is to promote equal opportunity in employment through administrative and judicial enforcement of the federal civil rights laws and through education and technical assistance. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and began operating on July 2, 1965. The EEOC enforces the principal federal statutes prohibiting employment discrimination.

When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.

Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. Businesses take the issue seriously and many provide training for employees. Many commercial services have begun to offer training for managers and employees. The Internet is plastered with commercial websites offering information, products, and services.

Despite widespread publicity about the perils of sexual harassment, surveys demonstrate that many businesses operating in the United States have yet to address the problem. Moreover, recent news reports indicate that sexual harassment has reached the highest levels of management. Although businesses know it exists, they appear unsure of what to do about it. As a result, the specter of employer liability for sexual harassment continues to loom over the workplace.

Failure to adopt a pro-active and aggressive stance on this issue, how ever, can result not only in costly lawsuits, but also in a loss of employee morale, decline in productivity, and an erosion of a company's public image. That businesses are still taking chances may reflect a failure to adequately consider the risks.

Although men face harassment, women are the most likely victims. Nevertheless, harm caused by sexual harassment is often extreme even for men, including humiliation, loss of dignity, psychological (and sometimes physical) injury, and damage to professional reputation and career. Inevitably, the victims face a choice between their work and their self-esteem. Sometimes, they face a choice between their jobs and their own safety.

In recent years, the number of sexual harassment cases filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as in federal and state courts, has climbed dramatically. In 1992, for example, a year after the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings on Capitol Hill, the number of sexual harassment cases filed with EEOC offices across the country jumped fifty percent over the previous year. Complaints about sexual harassment have ranged from fostering of a hostile work environment to demands for prostitution.

An effective grievance procedure should provide the complainant with alternative routes for reporting harassment. In setting up grievance procedures, a company may want to consider that women lodge the vast majority of sexual harassment complaints, and that the courts have found differences of perception to exist between men and women. As a result, an employer is better protected if a female employee is involved in assessing sexual harassment complaints. That way, female victims may be more willing to come forward, thus enhancing an employer's ability to take prompt and effective remedial action. As with any grievance procedure, of course, a company must maintain confidentiality, both for the sake of the victim and the accused.

In 1976, the same year that the District Court of the District of Columbia resolved the first Title VII sexual harassment case, a Redbook magazine poll found that nine out of ten women said they had been subjected to unwanted sexual advances at work.13 In 1980, the federal government surveyed its own employees and found that forty-two percent of women stated they had experienced some form of work-related sexual harassment. (In addition, fifteen percent of men reported such harassment.) When the federal government looked at the same issue seven years later, the numbers had not changed. Surveys done in the private sector revealed similar results. These statistics notwithstanding, most cases of sexual harassment still go unreported: as many as ninety-five percent of all such incidents may not be brought to light.

According to statistics, by far the majority of sexual harassment is done by men towards women (50-67%) ... sexual harassment does happen to working men (15-30%) and that laws and guidelines are often written and languaged as if sexual harassment is only a male to female thing. More than 200 men file sexual harassment charges each year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- that's about one-tenth of the number of cases file by women. But more men will experience sexual harassment over the coming years as women assume more positions of power in corporate America, says lawyer Ron Green, who defends companies in sexual harassment cases.

And a 1987 survey of federal workers by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board found that 42% of the women and 14% of the men had reported such harassment.

85% of the girls and 76% of the boys reported some experience of sexual harassment in school. Report by American Association of University Women. Note that various categories of harassment are given, in most cases girls are only slightly higher than boys.

I think it is a mistake to "ignore homosexual harassment". Indeed, a large amount of the total sexual harassment is done by men to men. But it is not necessarily homosexual, per se.

That is to say, effeminate men or guys who are different in some other way are often exposed to harassment and teasing much more vicious than anything I've ever heard done to a woman. In a addition to outrageous verbal abuse and pranks these guys often face assault, sabotage, and extraordinary levels of isolation.

Contrary to popular perception, a large number of sexual harassment cases are filed in the wake of breakups of mutually consensual affairs. The jilted party then begins a campaign of harassment against the one that left, and the one who left eventually files a complaint.

In such instances, about 20% of caseload that involved male harassment complaints, are cases started to make woman’s life more difficult.

There was a study conducted in Canada that suggest that men are victims of sexual harassment on the job more often than are women, as long as the same criteria are used for both sexes. A study at OISE by Gina Fisher in 1987 showed that men were more likely to report being sexually harassed (56 percent vs. 51 percent) yet were more tolerant of behaviors from women that women considered harassment from men, suggesting the real gap is much wider.

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Max Weber
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