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Case suggests both men and women can be sexual harassment victims


A recent case involving a female co-chief executive officer of Archie Comics is suggesting that both men and women can be the objects of gender discrimination.

Information in the lawsuit filed by five male plaintiffs claims the executive repeatedly referred to them as "penis" instead of by their given names.

The executive has refuted the allegations and also asserted that their lawsuit cannot claim gender discrimination because Caucasian men are not a "protected class." Her attorney has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Two other male executives have disputed her claim that she has never used the word "penis" in dealing with male employees.

This case suggests that both men and women can be sexually harassed. Whether or not the plaintiffs' allegations are true will be determined by a judge or jury or stipulated in any settlement of the case before it goes to trial.

In most cases, filing a lawsuit against a harasser is not entirely about compensation; it can also increase awareness of how frequently sexual harassment occurs and that both sexes can be workplace victims. Aside from creating a hostile working environment, sexual harassment can produce emotional trauma that requires psychiatric treatment.

It is illegal to harass a person based on his or her gender; harassment generally includes making lewd or offensive sexual comments. Inside the workplace, sexual harassment can occur between employees and between a supervisor and an employee, thus creating a hostile working environment. Incidents of sexual harassment should be immediately reported to prevent them from happening again.

In New York, an employee who is a victim of sexual harassment should report the incident to management. If managers or supervisors do not take appropriate action to address the incident, the victim should take the next step and consult an attorney and thus take advantage of relevant law.

Source: Nydailynews.com, "Exclusive: Archie Comics co-CEO accused of gender discrimination by male employees," Dareh Gregorian, Dec.2, 2013

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