Monday, 8 March 2010

California Employment Lawyers Find More Men Filing Sexual Harassment Claims

The gap between the genders is narrowing as more men are coming forward to file sexual harassment claims against employers.

Women still account for an overwhelming majority of the sexual harassment claims that are filed every year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, between 1990 and 2009, the number of men filing sexual harassment claims has gone up by 100%, from 8% in 1990 to 16% in 2000. In 2009, out of the 12,700 claims that were filed, 2,000 were filed by male employees. This increase in the number of men fling claims comes even as the overall number of sexual harassment claims has declined steadily over the past few years.

Most defendants in male employee-related sexual harassment claims are male employers. However, the number of cases involving coworkers and female employers is also increasing. It's hard for any California employment lawyer to tell if these cases are actually increasing, or if more men are coming forward now to file claims.

In the past, physical displays between men were dismissed as “frat boy” behaviors that were normal when a group of testosterone-charged males gathered in the workplace. However, the number of men who are willing to dismiss such behavior as “boys will be boys” antics is declining, as evidenced from the growing numbers of claims. Sexual harassment claims filed by male employees range from inappropriate touching, groping and grabbing in the workplace, to outright threats of assault and rape, and forced sexual advances. One employee at a steak house in Arizona was fired for making public his displeasure at the harassment. He has now joined the growing ranks of male employees filing claims. His claim filed with the EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages.

The bias against men who admit to being victims of sexual harassment in the workplace may be dwindling, but some of these men still admit to feeling embarrassment for making the harassment public. However, it's very important that more such victims come forward to file sexual harassment claims, because it will ultimately lead to a safer and more conducive workplace atmosphere.

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