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Types of sexual harassment men face in the workplace

While it's more common for women to experience sexual harassment on the job, they are not the only victims. Men are also subject to harassment while working. 

Sexual harassment can take many forms, physical, verbal and emotional. Although there is little specific research about how sexual harassment affects men, it can damage productivity and morale in the workplace.

Types of harassment

Psychology Today lists three main types of sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Sexual coercion, which is when an employer threatens to fire the employee if the employee does not agree to sex.
  • Gender harassment is hostile behavior based on gender, for example, telling offensive jokes or stories and referring to people of a gender in insulting terms. This type of harassment is the least likely to be recognized as such, even though it is very common.
  • Unwanted sexual attention includes things like pressuring a person for a date or sexual touching. 

Men who belong to sexual minorities are considerably vulnerable to sexual harassment, as are men who are outspokenly feminist. Sometimes harassment complaints filed by men are not taken seriously in the workplace, but employers have a duty to protect both sexes against harassment. Gender-fair policies need to be in place to protect all employees. 

Concerns about reporting harassment

Many people remain silent and do not report sexual harassment, out of fear of losing their job or not understanding what it is. However, employers are not allowed to retaliate against complainants, no matter what the outcome of the investigation reveals. Your employer should educate everyone in the workplace about sexual harassment and have established steps to handle a complaint. 

You have a right to feel safe at your job. Ideally, you should be able to talk to the person about the harassment to get it to stop. If that does not work, you should speak to your supervisor or senior management. If going to your employer does not help the situation, you may want to talk to a lawyer about your options. 

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