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A male's guide to sexual harassment at work

Although you're male, that doesn't mean that sexual harassment isn't a problem for you. Just like women, men face harassment in the workplace. Some men never say anything, because it could come off as emasculating, but you have every right to work in a comfortable, safe environment. Everyone needs to know what sexual harassment is and what to do if it happens.

Sexual harassment isn't just touching someone

Sure, touching someone without permission can constitute sexual harassment. However, other actions are sexual harassment as well. For example, remarking on how attractive or sexy someone looks, commenting on his genitals or acting provocatively could constitute sexual harassment.

Supervisors requesting sexual favors or asking employees to go on a date when those employees are not interested are participating in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment also includes forwarding graphic sexual images and forwarding sexually explicit content to coworkers.

It's not a joke

While some people play off occasional harassment as a joke, it's serious. If you don't get a promotion or think your work is impacted by what's taking place at work, then this is affecting you negatively and needs addressing. It's time to take action.

You have the right to complain

Any time there's a problem in the workplace, you have a right to complain. Talk to your employer, the human resources department or others appointed to speak to you about complaints. If these individuals are part of the issue, consider contacting the state for help. Keep all evidence of the harassment that has taken place, so you can present it to your attorney when you meet with him or her.

Give the human resources department or your employer time to deal with the situation. If it is not dealt with appropriately and swiftly, you can move forward with a claim against your employer. Workers fired or demoted due to complaining about harassment have rights, too. Know that it is illegal to do so in retaliation.

Your employer may not retaliate against an employee with a complaint about sexual harassment in the workplace. Your employer should take your complaint seriously and investigate the problem, so you have a chance to get back to work in a safe, supportive environment.

Your attorney can help you file a claim against your employer if no other avenues help eliminate the problems you face at work. With the right support, you can get out of a dangerous or bothersome situation and make your employer conform to state law. If you've been terminated or demoted, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses due to retaliation.

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