Normally when one hears of sexual harassment allegations being filed, one assumes that it is by a female against a male. The reality is quite different, and it is imperative to understand that anyone, regardless of gender, has the right to speak up against mistreatment. Still, it can be easy to misunderstand what options you have in the face of sexual harassment. Here is some information that we hope can help.
More and more men are filing sexual harassment claims, with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statistics reporting the percentage of male filers rising from 11.6 to 16.3 percent in the 15-year reporting period, with a roughly corresponding rise in merit settlements, meaning that a roughly equal amount of cases are being decided in court, in favor of the complainant. It is unknown whether this means more harassment or simply that more men are reporting such treatment.
While some of the claims being mounted have been brought against women, the majority of men’s claims are being brought against other men. This may somewhat account for the rise in male complainants, at least since 1998, when Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services Inc. was decided by the Supreme Court. Oncale dealt with harassment against a male oil rig worker by his male coworkers, and before its decision, harassment was not necessarily considered sexual if it was occurring between people of the same gender. Oncale’s holding affirmed that gender is meaningless if the other criteria to establish sexual harassment have been met.
What To Do
While it can be intimidating to file allegations of such a personal nature, it is important for your own well-being that you do so, if other options have been unsuccessful. Despite myths and pop culture perceptions, men have the right to a workplace free of mistreatment and harassment, just as women do. Also, the watchdogs trained to oversee these cases—the EEOC and the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC)—are trained to seek parity and justice for all victims.
The best step for most people is to begin by seeking solutions at your employer’s office. If your employer refuses to act, the EEOC or SCHAC is the next step. Filing a charge with the EEOC in particular is no guarantee that it will be taken up. If it is chosen to be prosecuted by the EEOC, the matter will go from there, with either a settlement or a court verdict as the ultimate conclusion. If it is not, you will be granted leave to sue your employer, usually in federal court, after the agency has ended its investigation.
Call An Employment Law Attorney For Help
Sexual harassment affects everyone, regardless of gender, and it cannot be tolerated if an employer wants to keep a safe and productive workplace. If you have experienced sexual harassment as a man, it is arguably more important to report it, to make it clear that anyone should do the same. Attorney A. Christopher Potts will listen to your questions and do his best to help you. Contact our office today to set up an initial consultation.