Sexual Harassment

Workers in New Jersey are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). Every employee in the state and throughout the country is entitled to a workplace free from unwanted advances and comments related to their gender. Federal and state laws exist to prevent sexual harassment and hold employers accountable when they fail to stop such behaviors. Sexual harassment encompasses many behaviors; some more subtle than others. Sexual harassment is considered any of the following:

  • Gender-focused comments and remarks
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Obscene electronic, verbal, or written sexually suggestive communication, including comments, jokes, and notes
  • Visual contact or materials, including suggestive photos or objects
  • Explicit or implicit suggestions of favorable treatment at work in return for sexual favors
  • Outright or implied suggestions that a rejection of sexual advances will result in unfavorable employment consequences
  • Continuing to engage in sexual harassment

It is important to note that a one-off comment or joke does not always constitute sexual harassment under the law. Behavior must be more pervasive and persistent to warrant legal action. An experienced Long Branch employment lawyer can evaluate your individual situation and determine if you may be the victim of sexual harassment.

Categories of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment falls into the following three categories:

  • Hostile work environment: When harassment is so invasive that it makes work intolerable for an employee
  • Quid pro quo: When the terms of a worker’s employment are determined by their willingness or refusal to engage in behavior of a sexual nature
  • Third party sexual harassment: Committed by someone outside of the employee’s organization, such as a client or customer

What to Do If You Experience Sexual Harassment

If you are being sexually harassed at your job, the first thing to do is report the offensive behavior to your employer. File your report verbally and in writing with your immediate superior or human resources department. If they fail to stop the harassment, you can take your complaint a step further and file it with the appropriate state agency.

Any supervisor who becomes aware of sexual harassment allegations is also required to report them. Employers and employees are expected to cooperate with ensuing investigations and their conclusions or face disciplinary action. Workers also have the option to file a claim in New Jersey Superior Court within two years of the last reported offense. Beyond this time limit, sexual harassment victims risk forfeiting their legal rights. Employees with questions about workplace discrimination should contact an employment lawyer to determine the right approach for addressing sexual harassment.

Retaliation

Sexual harassment may be more common than we think. Because workers often fear retaliation for reporting offensive behavior, it often goes unchecked, subjecting employees to an uncomfortable and hostile work environment. It is important to note the NJLAD also protects individuals from retaliation.

Retaliation takes many forms. It can be a demotion, transfer, reduction in salary, or even termination for an employee who reports harassment. The law protects those participating in state and federal agency investigations, including third-party witnesses. Employees who suspect they are being treated unfairly at work after reporting sexual harassment or participating in an investigation involving a colleague should notify their employer and file a grievance with the appropriate state or federal agency.

Long Branch Employment Lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. Protect the Rights of Workers in New Jersey

If you experienced sexual harassment at work, the Long Branch employment lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. have experience advocating for clients in New Jersey facing complex employment law matters. We offer premium, responsive, and personalized attention through every step of your claim to help you achieve the best resolution possible for your case. To get started today, call 732-493-9400 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Asbury Park, Neptune, Long Branch, Keansburg, Ocean Township, Eatontown, Red Bank, Middletown, Colts Neck, Deal, Freehold, Holmdel, Jackson, Little Silver, Marlboro, and Rumson.

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