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Can Men Be Sexually Harassed at Work?

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Our South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Help You Understand Your Rights

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a pervasive issue. The typical narrative may center around females as the recipients, but flip the script: men face this unlawful conduct as well. The reality is stark—men can and do experience sexual harassment in their professional environments. It is not merely a possibility but an occurrence that demands attention and action.

As workers in New Jersey, understanding your rights is paramount. Whether subtle or overt, sexual harassment can dismantle a person’s dignity and security at work. This blog will cut through the silence and provide an unambiguous answer: Yes, men can be sexually harassed at work, and yes, there are legal protections in place.

Understanding Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It does not hinge on the gender of the harasser or the harassed; it can occur between any individual, regardless of their sex.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and clarifies that both victim and harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is considered sexual harassment under Title VII.

Legal Precedents

In landmark cases such as Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, the United States Supreme Court unequivocally stated that Title VII’s protection against workplace sexual harassment extends to male victims. The court held that sex discrimination consisting of same-sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination further fortifies these protections, prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, which includes sexual harassment of both women and men.

Recognizing the Signs

Sexual harassment can take many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Lewd remarks or jokes
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Intimidation or threats based on sexual advances

Men may hesitate to report such incidents due to societal stigma or fear of not being taken seriously. However, silence serves no one.

Reporting and Recourse

Should you find yourself facing sexual harassment, New Jersey law mandates strict employer responsibilities to address such claims. Employers are required to have clear anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures in place. They must also act promptly to investigate and resolve complaints.

Filing a complaint usually begins internally, but if the employer fails to rectify the situation, one may file a charge with the EEOC or the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Furthermore, lawsuits for damages may be filed, and remedies can include job reinstatement, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

The societal misconception that men cannot be victims of sexual harassment creates unique challenges for male victims. They are often met with disbelief or ridicule, making it imperative to transform workplace cultures. Male victims require the same level of support and credulity afforded to female victims.

If you are a male victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is vital to document every incident and communication. Seek support from colleagues, human resources, or a mental health professional. Know that your feelings are valid, your experiences are real, and recourse is within your reach.

Our South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Help You Understand Your Rights

At The Gold Law Firm, P.C., we stand firmly against all forms of sexual harassment. If you are experiencing this unlawful behavior, speak with our South Jersey sexual harassment lawyers. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.

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