Yes, Male Employees Can be Victims of Sexual Harassment, Too
Cop alleges that female supervisor relentlessly harassed him for a year
When most people hear the phrase “sexual harassment,” chances are they immediately picture a female victim and a male harasser.
However, an ongoing case indicates what can happen when that stereotype keeps supervisors from taking other types of sexual harassment complaints seriously.
Sheriff’s Deputy Philip Kozlowski claims that his reports of sexual harassment were ignored because his alleged harasser was a female. Now, he’s suing his employer, claiming that he was discriminated against because of his gender.
This case is an important reminder that sexual harassment can take many different forms. Let’s take a look at what happened here and then talk about what it means to you.
Philip Kozlowski had seen a lot during his 24 years on the county police force. However, he never would’ve guessed that his working relationship with his female boss would be the thing to make him feel uneasy about his job.
According to Kozlowski’s lawsuit, his female sergeant aggressively sexually harassed him for more than a year. Kozlowski claims that she taunted him with graphic descriptions of sex acts she wanted to engage in with him. He says that she also frequently referenced Kozlowski’s wife in sexual or derogatory ways, and referred to Kozlowski’s son as “my son.”
In addition the verbal harassment, Kozlowski claims that the sergeant would create scenarios to be alone with him, such as reassigning his partner for a few hours or demanding that Kozlowski leave his partner to “hang out” with her. He says she once locked herself in an office with him and turned off the lights. He also alleges that she would call or text him on his personal cell phone during off-duty hours and would drive by his house.
Kozlowski claims that he complained about the behavior several times but nothing was done.
Finally, he made a formal complaint. After the sergeant found out Kozlowski’s actions, she allegedly declared, “Kozlowski doesn’t know who he’s (expletive) with. I’m going to (expletive) him, and (expletive) him good.”
Four days later he was demoted from sworn police officer to non-sworn police officer. He was reassigned to a desk job.
Kozlowski consulted with an attorney. He is now suing his former employer, alleging a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment and unlawful retaliation.
(The case discussed here is Kozlowski v. Wayne County and Wayne County Sherriff’s Department.)
What It Means
No one should have to put up with sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), federal law offers protection from sexual harassment for all employees, no matter what their gender.
Harassment may be perpetrated by male or female employees, supervisors, or customers, and may include:
- unwelcome sexual advances
- requests for sexual favors
- verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
- offensive remarks about a person’s sex, e.g., making offensive comments about women or men in general
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you believe that you have been sexually harassed, it’s wise to speak to an attorney to find out about your rights.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (267) 273-1054 for a free consultation.