Evolution Of Sexual Harassment Law In New Jersey

For much of the US, certain areas of legislation are a constant debate, with more and more new changes being pushed for all the time. This is the case for sexual harassment in New Jersey. 

Historically, all states gained some protection from sexual harassment in the 60s when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, which contained Title VII. Title VII prohibits all sex-based discrimination in the workplace, including sexual harassment. However, Title VII only applies to companies with more than 15 employees, which means people experiencing sexual harassment in smaller organizations had difficult legal pathways to justice. 

Slowly, the majority of states started passing their own state-level laws to compensate for the limitations in the Act of ‘64, some more strict than others. 


New Jersey’s law on sexual harassment


At the state level, New Jersey has the “Law against Discrimination” (LAD) which prohibits discrimination in the workplace because of sex, or sex-related things, like gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. 

The LAD applies to all employers, regardless of size. 

Now, New Jersey’s Senate Majority Leader Lorette Weinberg has put forth a series of demands to move antisexual harassment culture into political offices as well.

The demands are:

  • Create an independent investigative unit within the Election Law Enforcement Commission to look into sexual harassment allegations in politics
  • Implement strict anti-sexual harassment policies for campaigns and political organizations, including mandatory anti-sexual harassment training for all elected officials, candidates, and their staffs
  • Ban nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) or similar contracts that prevent victims from coming forward

So we can clearly see a trend of more and more rules and regulations regarding sexual harassment for most states. 


What exactly is sexual harassment?


Sexual harassment isn’t just someone being groped or touched against their will. It can come in innumerable ways, but usually, allegations get grouped into one of two main groups: 

  • “Quid-pro-quo” Whereby an employee is pressured into accepting some type of “offer” for promotion, pay raise, or another tangible job benefit. 
  • “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment whereby someone is subject to some type of act that puts them in a hostile environment, like sexual assault, rape, stalking, rude comments, display of sexualized photos or videos. These are just common examples; This type of harassment can happen in many ways. 

Those wishing to seek justice for sexual harassment in New Jersey must file a claim with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (NJDCR) within 180 days, or, depending on your case, you may also want to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days. 


Are you looking for justice?


If you need help with a sexual harassment allegation, get in touch with an experienced New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer. Attorneys are available in most cities across the state, including Newark and Trenton.

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