Male Supervisor Sexually Harasses Male Employee

    This case involves a male employee who worked on an offshore oil rig. The employee’s male supervisor forcibly subjected the employee to sex-related actions against him in front of co-workers. The supervisor repeatedly threatened the employee with rape and physically assaulted the employee in front of other employees by sodomizing him with a bar of soap in the company showers. The employee complained about the conduct of the supervisor but his complaints were ignored by the company’s management. The employee decided to quit his job fearing that if he did not leave work, the supervisor might force him to perform sexual acts or might rape him. The employee sued the company alleging that the acts of the supervisor constituted sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Can a male employee who quits his job because of repeated acts of a sexual manner committed by a male supervisor sue the company for sexual harassment?

    Expert Witness Response

    Under Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on the employee’s sex. This applies to discrimination with respect to the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. To bring a case against an employer for sexual harassment under Title VII, an employee must show that their employer treated them differently because of their sex and this created an abusive work environment. Title VII prohibits any conduct of a sexual nature in the work environment that is severe or pervasive enough to create an environment that a reasonable person would find abusive or hostile. In same-sex sexual harassment cases, it is only necessary for an employee to show that they were harassed in such sex-specific and derogatory terms by someone of the same gender as to make it clear that the harasser was motivated by a general hostility to the presence of someone of the same gender in the workplace. Also, in same-sex sexual harassment cases, it is not necessary that the supervisor have any sexual designs on the employee to prove a case of sexual harassment under Title VII. A heterosexual supervisor may be charged with sexual harassment of a male employee if he threatens homosexual activity in the workplace regardless of the supervisor’s sexual orientation. In this case, the employee can probably bring a suit against the company for sexual harassment because he was subject to unwelcome sexual advances, the harassment was based on his sex, and this created a hostile and intimidating work environment that interfered with the employee’s work performance.

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