Labor & Employment

As Layoffs Increase, More Men File Sex Harassment Claims

A recession that has cost more men than women their jobs appears to be spurring an increase in sex harassment claims by men.

Men filed 2,094 claims for sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year, up from 1,869 claims in 2006, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The EEOC doesn’t keep track of the sexes of alleged harassers, but employment lawyers told the newspaper many of the cases involve complaints of man-on-man harassment. Increasingly, claims filed by men allege behavior such as locker room talk and horseplay, rather than misconduct like groping or sexual advances, the lawyers say.

Lawyer Ron Chapman of Ogletree Deakins in Dallas told the Wall Street Journal that many of the men who are suing have been fired or laid off. Complaint numbers in states hit hard by the recession also suggest a link between layoffs and harassment claims. In Michigan, for example, where unemployment sits at 14.6 percent, the percentage of claims by men increased to 26.6 percent in 2009 from 16.6 percent in 2007.

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