New Jersey – December 3, 2020

Superiors at the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department are being sued for harassing a volunteer who endured a hostile work environment where she faced discrimination because of her gender and race.  The claim filed in New Jersey Superior Court outlines the history of inappropriate lewd remarks, and attention to her Indian descent.  At the time of the outrageous behavior, the victim was only 17 years of age and comments were made that further pursuit by the aggressive individuals should occur when she turned 18, according to the lawsuit that also calls out the Deputy Chief for acknowledging the common knowledge of the negative workplace behavior, but not acting on the victim’s complaints.  The claims states that the harassment continued via text and social media when the victim went to college, and also included lewd comments about other female volunteers with the department. Legal counsel can assist victims against workplace harassment toward the recovery of damages.

Supporting law.

Workplace harassment is a form of employment discrimination and a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the American Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Sexual discrimination is when individuals are discriminated against for being male, or female, sexual orientation, and for being pregnant, with regard to work environment, gaining promotions, salary gaps and reductions in benefits based on a variety of factors. The discriminators in these cases are usually managers, bosses, and supervisors in places of employment, although sometimes co-workers discriminate as well.  Experienced sexual harassment and employment law attorneys in New Jersey can explain available legal options for victims of workplace harassment.

Illegal act.

Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent (as in this case), or severe that it creates a hostile, or offensive work environment, or when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as a victim being fired, transferred, or demoted.  The co-worker’s actions should have been handled by enforcing the existing policy at the station.  A lawyer may be able to build a case using this information.

Damages.

  • Back pay, lost pay and benefits individuals would receive absent the adverse personnel action (e.g., salary from the date of a termination, or demotion until the date of the trial),
  • Compensatory damages for emotional distress and reputational harms suffered because of the sexual harassment,
  • Punitive damages to punish the company if it acted with malice, or reckless indifference.
  • Lost future earnings,
  • Equitable relief, such as an order reinstating victim,
  • Attorney’s fee and court costs.

Legal options.

Individuals have legal options against sexual and workplace harassment, especially after following protocol and complaining with the supervisor and recognizing the workplace policies. An attorney can assist victims of harassment with civil, or criminal action to compensate for damages, and even personal injury that may have been a result of the sexual, or workplace harassment.

 Sources:

https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/warren-county/2020/12/warren-county-firefighter-claims-chief-sexually-harassed-her-and-no-one-did-anything-about-it.html

https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleVI-Overview

https://www.ada.gov/

https://metoomvmt.org/get-to-know-us/history-inception/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Catharine-A-MacKinnon

 

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