Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of gender discrimination that commonly involves comments or actions that demean and/or harass someone else in a sexual manner. When most people think about sexual harassment, they often imagine a scenario where a man inappropriately touches a female colleague or perhaps says something inappropriate about her appearance.
This isn’t an inaccurate understanding of what sexual harassment can look like, but it includes much more than inappropriate conduct towards women. While women are far more likely to experience sexual misconduct than men in the workplace, this dynamic doesn’t define sexual harassment.
Anyone can become a victim of sexual harassment, including men. What’s more, anyone else – regardless of gender or sexual orientation – can be a perpetrator of sexual harassment.
How the Law Defines Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is illegal under the West Virginia Human Rights Act, which broadly outlaws sex discrimination in the workplace.
West Virginia courts have found that sexual harassment includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- And other comments or physical conduct of a sexual nature
Importantly, if you are a man and experience sexual harassment, the same laws that protect women against sexual harassment also protect men from sexual harassment.
How Men Can Experience & Fight Sexual Harassment at Work
A man can experience sexual harassment at work in any of the ways that a female coworker might.
This means he may:
- Be inappropriately touched
- Become the recipient of inappropriate comments about his body
- Or overhear demeaning comments made about his gender
Specific examples of sexual harassment can include the following:
- Slapping an employee’s buttocks
- Grabbing at an employee’s groin area
- Making unwanted comments about an employee’s physique
- Suggesting the employee wants or should want, to engage in sexual activities
- Demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, raise, or protection against termination for an otherwise legitimate reason
What Damages Are Available in a Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim?
If you are a man and are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, you may have a legal right to hold your employer accountable by bringing claims under the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
If you choose to do so through an employment law attorney, such as Rod Smith Law PLLC, you may have a right to recover:
- Lost wages
- Damages for emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Attorneys’ fees
- And more
Are You Experiencing Sexual Harassment at Work?
Regardless of your gender, you should never be forced to endure sexual misconduct at work. It is always illegal, and your employer can be held accountable for failing to make it stop. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, please reach out to an employment law attorney at Rod Smith Law PLLC to help you hold your employer accountable.
We have nearly two decades of experience helping people like you seek fair and just compensation after their rights were violated at work. You can take advantage of our free confidential consultation to tell us about your claim and learn about the legal options we can help you use. You do not pay Rod Smith Law PLLC any fees unless we win.
If you would like to schedule your free initial consultation, please call Rod Smith Law PLLC at (304) 406-7076 or contact us online!