New Jersey Sexual Harassment Law
There is nothing more frustrating than spinning your wheels at work and getting nowhere. If you feel as if your efforts are being ignored and you aren’t getting the recognition you deserve, that can squash your motivation to work harder. Even worse, if you feel as if you aren’t getting the promotion or advancement that you should based on your gender, or even because you are being sexually harassed, that can make for a completely unsatisfactory career. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace: in New Jersey both are illegal on the state and federal levels.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits all employers – regardless of the organization’s size – from discriminating against anyone in the workplace based on sex, domestic partnership, marital status, civil union status, sexual orientation, or gender expression or identity. Not only is it illegal to discriminate or to sexually harass, but it is also against the law to seek retaliation against anyone who makes a claim for sexual harassment.
Behaviors that constitute sexual harassment
Many behaviors can constitute offensive behavior that may or may not be considered sexual harassment. Just one “bad” joke or offensive act does not prove a sexual harassment case. For you to make a claim for sexual harassment, there has to be a systematic and pervasive series of behaviors that are creating an offensive and threatening workplace atmosphere for you. The hostile environment must be pervasive enough to interfere with your ability to perform at work.
Sexual behaviors can come in many forms; some examples include touching someone without their consent, sexual innuendos, derogatory comments or remarks, jokes that are sexually biased, unwelcome sexual advances, and explicitly sexual material. To qualify as a sexually-harassing behavior, you also have to prove the theory of reasonableness. According to the law, you have to show that it isn’t just you who is offended by the behavior. It must be the case that any reasonable person in the same position would also be offended by the behavior. This means that keeping meticulous records and documentation is critical.
You are being sexually harassed – now what?
The first step you have to take if you are being sexually harassed is to notify both the harasser and your supervisor or employer about the misconduct. There should be a specific procedure in place at your workplace to handle sexual harassment claims. If your case should be escalated or is not addressed properly by your company, your New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer will need all the proof that you can provide to them. Be sure to consult a New Jersey sexual harassment attorney from the start, so that you are doing what you need to if the harassment does not cease.
You can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the federal level under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To pursue the case in federal court, you will need to file an official claim.
If the harassment doesn’t stop and I incur damages, can I hold my employer liable?
If you take the proper steps to notify your employer and your harasser, and it falls on deaf ears without anyone investigating or taking steps to stop the behavior, then yes, you can file a case in court for both compensatory and – if the behavior was egregious enough – punitive damages. Things that you can sue for are lost wages, being passed up for a promotion, any bonuses or perks that you might not have gotten, and to have your position reinstated, if necessary.
You will have to show that not only was your employer aware of the sexual harassment, but also that they did nothing to resolve the situation. This is why having an attorney from the start is imperative. Check out USAttorneys.com; Here you can effortlessly find an experienced New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer who can help walk you through the complexity of how to file a case and win it. Your lawyer can not only can ensure that the harassment stops, but also that you are compensated for your suffering and can get back to work in a non-threatening atmosphere.