Men are also victims of sexual harassment in the workplace a new
university study has found, but women still far outnumber men as
targets for unwanted sexual attention and bullying.
The study found more than one in ten complaints about sexual
harassment came from men reporting sexual harassment from other
men. Another five per cent involved men complaining of being
sexually harassed by women. Six per cent of complaints came from
women reporting harassment from other women.
The vast majority – 78 per cent – of complaints were
from women reporting the behaviour of men in the workplace.
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology
examined hundreds of complaints about sexual harassment lodged with
state and federal equal opportunity commissions.
They were surprised complaints by men made up 16 per cent of all
For instance a male complained his female manager asked him to
lift his shirt to show her his muscles as well as shouting at him
and humiliating him in front of co-workers.
Another man alleged a male co-worker called him
"princess", told him to "toughen up" and
"get a tiara" and that he would rape him.
"Male on male harassment complaints often included conducts
such as homosexual slurs which questioned the man's
sexuality," said QUT's Professor Paula McDonald.
"There were taunts about apparently unmasculine conduct and
appearance and insinuations that they were gay. There was a very
strong homophobic tone that went through the male-on-male
Complaints about women harassing women nearly all involved a
subordinate being harassed by a boss, while male-on-male complaints
usually centred on workers at an equal level.
Prof. McDonald suggested this might be because sometimes women
feel the need to behave in a masculine way to maintain
Stacks Law Firm workplace law specialist Nathan Luke said if any
person felt they had been harassed in the workplace they should
seek legal advice.
"Everyone is entitled not to be discriminated against in
the workplace on the grounds of gender, race, ethnic background,
sexual orientation, religion, age, or being harassed by unwanted
sexual attention or bullying," Mr Luke said.
Surveys have found one in four women and almost one in five men
have experienced harassment at work.
"The victim might feel it is hard to prove what happened to
them but lawyers experienced in workplace law can help victims to
collect evidence and build a case.
"It's also important for employers to be proactive and
get good legal advice on workplace laws. There are lots of examples
of businesses breaching the law without even being aware of it and
a legal finding against them can be costly."
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