A growing number of men are filing sexual harassment claims, probably thanks in part to a recession that has hit men especially hard. Roughly 16.4% of all sexual harassment claims now come from men, compared to 15.4% in 2006, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Most of those claims come from the wide pool of men who’ve just been laid off or fired; in the past, victims may have opted to find new jobs rather than sue, notes one lawyer. With jobs tough to come by, litigation tends to increase.
From September 2008 to January 2010, 4.4 million men were laid off, compared to 2.3 million women, according to the Wall Street Journal. In states with higher unemployment, like Michigan or California, men made up more than 24% of claims. Many say they’ve been groped, or targeted by unwanted sexual advances, but employment lawyers say “locker room” behavior like vulgar talk or horseplay is an increasingly common complaint.