The Other Side of Sexual Harassment: Females Harassing Males

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Workplaces in the last 20 years have had a crash course in sexual harassment issues, as women have come forward with claims of inappropriate behavior and unwelcome conduct on the part of their male colleagues. However, more men are coming forward to claim such behavior from their female bosses and co-workers at an increasing rate.

Defining Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances or conduct in the workplace that create a hostile work environment for the person who is harassed. In the past, women have come forward with horror stories of inappropriate behavior including comments, jokes, and physical contact from bosses or male co-workers. In the middle-end of the 20th century, women entered the workforce en masse, disrupting the “old boys’ network” that was the traditional work place. As a result men were put on their best behavior in order to maintain a healthy work environment. While sexual harassment training was becoming the norm, women reported inappropriate behavior and gestures to their human resources departments. High profile cases put everyone on red-alert for the roving eyes of perverted male co-workers and bosses.

Women as Harassers

While we have been conditioned to believe that only men are barbaric and sexually-charged enough to harass, women can be guilty of sexual harassment, too. Women can be perpetrators of sexual harassment as well, ogling male subordinates and co-workers, propositioning underlings for sexual favors in return for a promotion, telling inappropriate jokes or engaging in similar such behavior, or otherwise creating a hostile work environment for the male employee on the receiving end of this attention. Though many men did not report this behavior in fear of retribution, harassment concerning their manhood, or fear of misconstrued flirting, others turned in their harasser, just as women have been told to do.

When to Report Harassment

Though the number of men who have had the courage to report their harassment is not as high as it is for women, the number is increasing as the face of the harasser becomes more feminine. If you are a man, or know a man, who has been harassed by a female co-worker, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Report your harassment and make the workplace comfortable for all.