A Charlotte-based private security company was just sued by the EEOC in a Title VII class action lawsuit for sexual harassment of male employees based upon their gender. The employees, security officers, were allegedly harassed by a captain and lieutenant who made offensive comments to them, solicited nude pictures from them, asked them to undress in front of them, solicited them for sex, forced them to accompany them to gay strip bars while on duty, touched their chests and genitals, and offered promotions to them in exchange for sex.
Despite the complaints which many of the employees filed, the company allegedly failed to prevent and promptly correct the harassment and suspended, demoted and/or discharged certain of the complaining employees.
Note that this is a lawsuit premised upon sexual harassment, which is a form of sex or gender discrimination. This is not a case of discrimination or harassment based upon sexual orientation, which is not prohibited under federal law. These employees were allegedly harassed because of their gender, not because of their sexual orientation. "All employees, men and women alike, are entitled to a workplace free from sexual harassment," noted an EEOC attorney.
Employers should note, however, that discrimination or harassment based upon sexual orientation is prohibited under the laws of many states and municipalities, such as New York State and New York City.