What Men Victims Can Do About Workplace Sexual Harassment

The #MeToo social media movement has empowered victims of sexual harassment — both men and women — to come forward and express their tales. Men from the entertainment sector to the federal government have resigned in the aftermath of sexual misconduct claims. But what happens when the employer is a woman and the victim is a man? Is the law also meant to protect men?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines workplace sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical sexual conduct that explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonable interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” Sexual harassment may be as simple as unwanted touching, being encouraged to go on romantic dates, or being given an unpleasant sexual moniker. It can also involve less evident conduct such as making nasty or disrespectful remarks about people, publishing sexually graphic photographs, or engaging in regular sexual discourse.

Can Men Be Sexually Harassed?

Yes. A man can be sexually harassed by both men and women. Sexual harassment is not limited to gender or sexuality. A 2015 EEOC report found that the vast majority of the sexual harassment charges filed by men are against other men. However, men can also be sexually harassed by women. In workplace situations, sexual harassment between men and women is often not obvious.

The EEOC describes harassment as unwelcome sexual advances. Many people tend to think of sexual harassment as something a man does to a woman. But harassment can also include offensive remarks or an offensive environment. There are many ways a woman can create a hostile or offensive work environment—making a man feel uncomfortable, humiliating, or even degrading him. A man might be subject to sexual harassment if he is touched inappropriately, subjected to sexual jokes and comments, or even threatened with the loss of his job for saying no to the advances of his boss or coworker.

What Can Male Victims Do About Sexual Harassment at Work?

If you feel your boss is sexually harassing you, you may feel you have no recourse. No matter what the law says, you have options.

1. Discuss the situation. If you feel uncomfortable or that someone is harassing you, talk to the individual about it. The person may not realize you are uncomfortable with their behavior. Sometimes, people mistakenly think they are being helpful by joking or expressing interest in sexual activities. If you are married or in a relationship, the person may not realize that you are uncomfortable with the flirtatious or sexually explicit conversation.

2. Take it to your supervisor. If you aren’t comfortable talking to the individual, talk to your supervisor or HR department. You can also contact HR or your supervisor to discuss training on workplace sexual harassment.

3. File a complaint with the EEOC. You can file a lawsuit against your employer if it cannot stop the harassment. You can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state government agency that enforces discrimination and harassment laws. You have only 180 days from the date of the harassment or discrimination to file your complaint with the EEOC. If discrimination or harassment continues or becomes more severe, you may have additional legal rights. 


If you feel you have been sexually harassed at work, know that you have options, and there are steps you can take to stop the harassment and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. You may also want to evaluate your options if you have been fired or otherwise punished for rejecting the advances of your boss or coworkers.

You deserve peace of mind and justice. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of any sexual assault or sex crimes, please call the Law Offices of Ronemus & Vilensky immediately. We can help. We can’t erase what happened to you, but we can make sure that those responsible will not be allowed to continue. For more information on sexual harassment laws or representation for your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.