Siegal & RichardsonLLP

San Francisco Attorneys Serving All Of California

Women and men view sexual harassment differently

For male and female workers in California, the experience and interpretation of sexual harassment in the workplace can often differ substantially. While this may seem to be true from a common-sense perspective, this belief is backed up by the results of the American Family Survey. The nationwide poll included questions about public policy, marriage and children. It also had a number of questions asking about whether certain types of behaviors on the job should be labeled harassment.

According to researchers, responses indicated that women were more likely than men to identify certain activities as forms of sexual harassment. These gaps may also reflect the disparate experiences of men and women. While around 28 percent of men said that they experienced inappropriate advances or conduct, 60 percent of women said the same. Women were also more likely to report unwanted sexual behavior specifically in the workplace.

For example, one co-worker looking at another's private parts was considered sexual harassment by over 60 percent of women, but only 40 percent of men said the same. Even openly asking for sexual favors was viewed as sexual harassment by less than half of men while around 70 percent of women said that it was. While around one-third of women viewed sexual jokes as harassing, less than 20 percent of men felt the same way. The only type of behavior that a majority of men identified as sexual harassment was "persisting in unwanted attention," but even there, the gap between men's and women's results was significant.

Sexual harassment continues to be a serious problem for many female workers. An employee who has been subjected to harassment or other forms of workplace discrimination can consult with an employment lawyer about action they can take to seek justice.

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