Yes, same-sex sexual harassment is illegal

If you were to think about the training you received about sexual harassment from your employer, it likely centered around ill-treatment you might receive from a colleague of the opposite sex. Sexual harassment can come from same-sex colleagues as well, though. 

You may find it helpful to learn more about the behaviors that may fall under the umbrella of same-sex harassment so that you can take steps to protect your rights.

What might constitute male-on-male sexual harassment?

Data compiled by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicates that male-on-male sexual harassment tends to come in some common forms. While not limited to these examples, male-on-male sexual harassment often includes:

  • Belittlement or humiliation over one’s sexual orientation, activities or gender expression
  • Horseplay of a sexual nature or with sexual undertones
  • Unwanted and repeated sexual advances

Any acts aimed exclusively at homosexual employees may qualify as both sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination. 

What are some examples of female-on-female sexual harassment?

Female victims have lodged reports with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the past in which they’ve chronicled their experiences with same-sex sexual harassment. They’ve reported receiving the following unwanted treatment from their female colleagues:

  • Undesired grabbing or touching of their breasts and other body parts
  • Inappropriate questioning about their sex life or bodies
  • Encouragement to wear more revealing clothing to enhance their job prospects or entice customers

EEOC reports have chronicled how employers have often been slow to take disciplinary actions against female managers accused of allegedly harassing their same-gender employees. 

The law affords all workers freedom from sexual harassment

You have a right as an employee not to have to fear your colleagues, customers, vendors or anyone else sexually harassing you, regardless of your gender — or their gender.

If you’ve suffered from same-sex sexual harassment at work, please continue exploring our website to learn more about your legal options.

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