Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Didn't Know Men Complained About Sexual Harassment!

A common misperception is that men are either not sexually harassed, or that they like it and won't complain.  While this may occur in some cases, Michael Crichton taught us a decade ago that even if Demi Moore was the aggressor, a man might not appreciate being the victim of sexual harassment.  (Read the book or watch the film, Disclosure.) 

Recently, the Sparks Steakhouse in NYC, settled a sex harassment lawsuit brought by the EEOC on behalf of 22 male waiters.  The waiters alleged they were subject to vulgar sexual comments, touching of their buttocks, and attempted touching of their genitals by a male manager.  The company denies liability, and said it wanted to get the matter behind it. 

Both state and federal discrimination laws protect either gender from sexual harassment.  "Sex" is defined not limited to biological gender.  It also covers sexuality and gender stereotyping.  Sex harassment is unlawful whether conducted against a person of the opposite gender or the same gender. 

Employers need to make sure they have effective anti-harassment policies and procedures in place.  Employers need to train employees so that they really understand what the law requires and what they can do in the event of unlawful behavior. 

22 men are $600,000 richer today because of same-sex harassment. 

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