Most people think of sexual harassment as a women’s issue, but people of any gender or orientation can face sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual attitudes in the workplace. While women often report sexual harassment, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones to experience inappropriate or uncomfortable advances while at work.
Men can as easily wind up the victims of sexual harassment due to a number of different factors in the workplace. Unfortunately, given the common misconception that only female workers experience sexual harassment, many men are reticent to come forward after enduring abuse in the workplace.
Sexual advances or toxic work environments can happen to anyone
Understanding what actually constitutes sexual harassment can help you better determine if you’ve experienced it in your workplace. The two primary forms of sexual harassment involve either the creation of a hostile work environment or the attempt to solicit sexual or romantic favors from someone else in return for workplace benefits, like a raise.
It is possible for someone you work with to have a romantic or sexual interest in you that you do not reciprocate. As a man, you could potentially face unwanted advances from a female supervisor. Someone could try to seduce you at work or even use their managerial position as leverage. It’s also possible that a male co-worker who is attracted to other men could also make advances toward you.
However, flirting, quid pro quo offers and uncomfortable sexual advances in the workplace are not the only forms of sexual harassment a male employee could face. Other employees gossiping or joking about a worker’s orientation or sex life could also constitute sexual harassment if it creates a hostile work environment.