In the wake of recent discussions of sexual harassment in the workplace, including the increase in harassment claims in France, it’s important to remember that women are not the only victims of sexual harassment. In a new case, Sgt. Nelson Fernandez, a nine-year veteran of the New York Police Department, filed a sexual harassment claim against his male boss, saying that he’s “fed up” with unwanted advances at work.
“He’ll call me in for no particular reason,” Fernandez told the NY Daily News. “Then he’ll lounge back with his feet up, and he puts a pen in his mouth and starts sucking on it in a sexual manner.”
According to Fernandez, his superior, Deputy Inspector, Thomas Connolly, also commented on “how sexy” Fernandez looked. And, perhaps most disturbingly, Fernandez alleged that Connolly touched him inappropriately during patrols.
Last month, when Fernandez told two lieutenants about Connolly’s behavior, they encouraged him to go forward to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which investigates sexual harassment. Connolly is apparently “fully confident” that he will be exonerated.
These complaints are troubling, especially since Fernandez says that he was encouraged by his colleagues to “take one for the team” – in other words, to put up with Connolly’s inappropriate behavior for everyone else’s sake. And while male-on-male sexual harassment is less common than men harassing women, that often means that men get even less sympathy and credibility when they come forward with allegations like Fernandez’s.
Photo from HeathBrandon's Flickr photostream.