Man Told to ‘Suck It Up’ After Being Harassed by Female Coworkers
Staffer was fired one week after making sexual harassment complaint
Federal law is clear: sexual harassment victims can be male or female.
Perpetrators of sexual harassment may also be of either sex.
Yet it seems that men often have a hard time getting anyone to take their
sexual harassment complaints seriously — and that may be especially
true for men who work in fields dominated by women.
Let’s take a look at a recent case where this happened and then discuss
what it means to you.
A male minority
Ralph Oberdorf was one of very few men on the skilled nursing staff at
Penn Village Facility Operations
He claims that over the period of a year, his female supervisor continually
made disparaging comments about his gender. She allegedly said told Oberdorf
that he “must be gay” in order to be a male nurse.
She supposedly also commented on Oberdorf’s buttocks and talked about
how his girlfriend must like giving him lap dances.
Oberdorf complained to upper management several times, but says that he
was told to “suck it up” and “put on [his] big boy pants.”
He claims that his complaints were not investigated or addressed. Rather,
he says that his work was put under the microscope as he was subjected
to additional scrutiny.
He was fired one week after making his last complaint. He was told that
his termination was prompted by a patient interaction, although Oberdorf
says he was uncertain what the problem was.
Oberdorf got a lawyer and sued, claiming that the company fired him in
retaliation for his sexual harassment complaints. He noted that a female
coworker had once given a patient incorrect medication and had not been
fired, so the stated reason for his termination seemed flimsy.
The company attempted to have the case thrown out, but the court refused.
Oberdorf was allowed to proceed with his case. Now the company must defend
itself in front a jury.
(The case discussed here is
Oberdorf v. Penn Village Facility Operations.)
What It Means to You
It’s important to know that sexual harassment can come in many forms,
and not all of those forms involve unwelcome sexual advances.
Disparaging someone because of his or her gender may also be considered
sexual harassment in certain circumstances.
While the law doesn’t oppose teasing or offhand remarks, it does
note that certain speech may cross the line. That is, situations that
are frequent and severe enough to affect a person’s working conditions
may be considered unlawful.
Contact Us Now for Consultation
If you believe that you’ve been subjected to unlawful treatment due
to your gender, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.