Men also victims of sexual harassment in the workplace
Men are also victims of sexual harassment in the workplace a new university study has found, but women still far outnumber men as targets for unwanted sexual attention and bullying.
The study found more than one in ten complaints about sexual harassment came from men reporting sexual harassment from other men. Another five per cent involved men complaining of being sexually harassed by women. Six per cent of complaints came from women reporting harassment from other women.
The vast majority – 78 per cent – of complaints were from women reporting the behaviour of men in the workplace.
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology examined hundreds of complaints about sexual harassment lodged with state and federal equal opportunity commissions.
They were surprised complaints by men made up 16 per cent of all complaints.
For instance a male complained his female manager asked him to lift his shirt to show her his muscles as well as shouting at him and humiliating him in front of co-workers.
Another man alleged a male co-worker called him “princess”, told him to “toughen up” and “get a tiara” and that he would rape him.
“Male on male harassment complaints often included conducts such as homosexual slurs which questioned the man’s sexuality,” said QUT’s Professor Paula McDonald.
“There were taunts about apparently unmasculine conduct and appearance and insinuations that they were gay. There was a very strong homophobic tone that went through the male-on-male complaints.”
Complaints about women harassing women nearly all involved a subordinate being harassed by a boss, while male-on-male complaints usually centred on workers at an equal level.
Prof. McDonald suggested this might be because sometimes women feel the need to behave in a masculine way to maintain authority.
Stacks Law Firm workplace law specialist Nathan Luke said if any person felt they had been harassed in the workplace they should seek legal advice.
“Everyone is entitled not to be discriminated against in the workplace on the grounds of gender, race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion, age, or being harassed by unwanted sexual attention or bullying,” Mr Luke said.
Surveys have found one in four women and almost one in five men have experienced harassment at work.
“The victim might feel it is hard to prove what happened to them but lawyers experienced in workplace law can help victims to collect evidence and build a case.
“It’s also important for employers to be proactive and get good legal advice on workplace laws. There are lots of examples of businesses breaching the law without even being aware of it and a legal finding against them can be costly.”
For more information please see Bullying and harassment claims in the workplace – employers need to be aware of risks and Work safety poster leads to $200,000 damages award.