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Yes, sexual harassment can come from someone who is the same gender as the victim

On Behalf of | May 4, 2021 | Harassment & discrimination

Most people have a general idea of what constitutes sexual harassment, but they don’t always realize that same-sex sexual harassment is also an issue.

Both federal and state laws prohibit same-sex sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that prohibits such actions. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act is the state law that forbids the same

What behaviors might constitute same-sex sexual harassment?

A worker doesn’t need to touch another to face sexually charged treatment accusations. Data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that undesired sexual advances can come in many shapes and forms, including belittling, embarrassment, humiliation and horseplay. Any sexually oriented gestures, conversations or acts may constitute sexual harassment as well. 

Some examples of some unwanted advances that workers received from their employers that they reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) include: 

  • Being encouraged to wear certain clothing that might increase customer flow: For example, a female boss encouraging could encourage her female workers to dress in skimpy clothing or flirt with their clients to make more sales.
  • Inappropriate questioning about body issues and sexual histories: For example, a male boss may question his male employees about their sexual prowess and make inappropriate comments about their relationships.
  • Unwarranted touching or grabbing by colleagues or management: Any unwanted touching that’s sexual in nature is harassment, regardless of the other party’s gender or gender identity.

While many workers who endure this same-sex treatment report it to their supervisors, few think of same-sex issues like harassment and thus don’t investigate these allegations. This leads some workers to file claims with the state or federal government. Some of them, unfortunately, leave their jobs without taking any action. 

Does your treatment on the job constitute sexual harassment?

If you’ve suffered sexual harassment, it doesn’t matter what genders are involved. You have every right to demand a safe working environment. If your appeals to your employer have gone unheard, it may be time to speak to an attorney.