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Sexual harassment claims filed by men are on the rise

When people think about sexual harassment in New Jersey, many may automatically think of a power-hungry male boss hitting on a female subordinate in the workplace. This is because many sexual harassment complaints are filed by women. Reportedly, however, an increasing number of men are complaining about being taken advantage in the workplace.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn't ask for birth dates when people complain about sexual harassment, but it does ask for their genders. Even though most complaints come from women, the percentage of complaints filed by men grew from nearly 14 percent to 16 percent between 2000 and 2011. During this same period, the overall number of complaints received dropped from more than 15,000 in 2000 to a little more than 11,000 in 2011.

Many of the cases involved teenagers. For instance, one case revolved around 14 boys who claimed that their boss at a movie theater made sexual advances toward them. The company ended up paying $765,000 to the teenagers. Young people usually work in jobs that many other people their age do, such as jobs in restaurants or retail stores. As a result, these fields tend to generate some of the highest numbers of sexual harassment claims.

It is illegal for supervisors to sexually harass their workers. They also can be held financially responsible if they allow other workers at the company to sexually harass fellow employees. When an employee is confronted with undesired sexual advances at work, he or she reserves the right to file a sexual harassment claim against the employer and any other offending parties. Financial restitution is one type of remedy that can result from a successfully presented case in New Jersey.

Source: The Oregonian, "Young men increasingly complain of workplace violations: Teen sexual harassment", Laura Gunderson, April 3, 2014

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