Men making more harassment complaints, statistics show

Q&A with Nathan Whatley

published in The Oklahoman | June 11, 2010

McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney and shareholder Nathan Whatley was featured in The Oklahoman discussing the recent notable increase in sexual harassment claims filed by men, how it reflects the state of the economy, and what employers should do to safeguard against those types of claims.

The recently published fiscal year 2009 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statistics show claims filed by men rose to an all-time high.  In 1992, sexual harassment charges filed by males accounted for only 8 percent of the total sexual harassment claims.  In 2008, they accounted for 15 percent, and in 2009, 16 percent.  According to Whatley, the recent recession that has hit men harder than women has been a contributing factor.  He told The Oklahoman, “Some of the states that have had the highest unemployment – Michigan, California and West Virginia – have had the highest number of male sexual harassment claims.”

Whatley also noted that claims filed by men often differ from those filed by women and frequently include “locker room” type behavior.  He recommends “employers should expand their sexual harassment training programs to include examples of sexual harassment levied against men, including scenarios involving public humiliation, bullying and inappropriate banter.”