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Are you aware that same-sex sexual harassment is unlawful?

| Jun 21, 2021 | Sexual Harassment |

Think back to your sexual harassment training or what it says in your employee manual about it. The language and examples used to describe this concept likely refer to someone of the opposite sex harassing a colleague. This is merely a stereotype. 

An increasing number of individuals who’ve face same-sex sexual harassment have begun stepping forward and reporting such incidents in recent years. 

If you’re wondering if same-sex sexual harassment is unlawful, it is. You may find it helpful to learn more about some examples of sexually charged treatment that co-workers dole out to their same-sex colleagues that rise to the level of harassment. 

What may constitute female-oriented same-sex sexual harassment?

A review of some past U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports reveals the breadth of sexually charged treatment that female employees have reported receiving from their same-sex colleagues, such as: 

  • Invasive questions about their bodies or sex life
  • Being told to wear more revealing clothing to appeal to customers of a certain demographic
  • Being told to dress seductively to rise in their job ranks.
  • Undesired touching or grabbing

EEOC data shows that employers have often been slow to punish members of upper-level management for taking one of the above-referenced actions. 

What does male-oriented same-sex sexual harassment look like?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) published a recent study chronicling the most common undesired sexual advances that male employees receive from their male colleagues, including:  

  • Horseplay with sexual undertones
  • Belittling, humiliation, embarrassment based on sexual activity or gender expression
  • Sexually charged actions or conversations about sex or sexual orientation

Treatment that aims to specifically single out employees for their sexual orientation may constitute fall into the category of both sexual orientation discrimination and sexual harassment. 

You have rights if you suffered sexual harassment at work

You should take time to report any sexual harassment to your employer as soon as it occurs. If they fail to act on your behalf, however, it may be time to look into your other legal options.