SEXUAL HARASSMENT NOT LIMITED TO A SINGLE GENDER

May 14th, 2012

When we read a story in the Pioneer Press or Star Tribune about a sexual harassment case, it seems like the accused is almost always a male. There are a variety of cultural and business factors that lead to this disproportionate representation. But it is important to remember that just because a manager or supervisor is female, she is not allowed to sexually harass employees.

It can be difficult for anyone to report sexual harassment; they may fear retaliatory termination or simply not being believed. Both men and women who are the victims of harassment are wrongly placed in uniquely difficult circumstances. Everyone deserves a workplace free from sexual harassment. The allegations in one ongoing case demonstrate the susceptibility of both genders to be the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.

In this instance, a male law enforcement deputy claims that his female supervisor made offensive and lewd sexual advances to him. The employee described a history of improper behavior including at least two occasions on which the female supervisor lifted her blouse and pulled it over the employee’s head, pressing herself into his face.

The complaint also alleges that the woman had told the employee that she wanted to perform at a local strip club and then danced suggestively in front of him. The supervisor has told reporters that she liked to joke around in the office, but has not made any further public comments regarding the matter.

In an attempt to document and ultimately stop this behavior, the employee had set up a recording device on his desk. He says that one of the incidents in which the boss trapped the employee’s head under her blouse may have been recorded, but that his supervisor used her authority to have the device destroyed or erased. His use of a recording device resulted in a suspension of the employee and he later felt he had no option but to resign.

Source: The Inquisitor, “Texas Constable Sued for Allegedly Nuzzling Deputy with Breasts,” May 8, 2012.

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