New Jersey Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law in New Jersey, and this means employers are prohibited from harassing workers based on their gender, a protected characteristic, according to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). According to NJ employment law, sexual harassment is a type of workplace discrimination, and any employee who believes he or she was the victim of sexual harassment at work may be entitled to back-pay, promotion, reinstatement or other damages, which can be pursued by filing a New Jersey sexual harassment claim against the employer. Contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney today to discuss your possible compensation options.
Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
New Jersey law defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual or otherwise offensive nature. There are two types of sexual harassment in the workplace: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment – Quid pro quo literally translates to “something for something” or “this for that,” and this type of harassment in the workplace involves an employer implicitly or explicitly suggesting that submission to sexual demands is a condition of employment. In the case of quid pro quo harassment, the employee comes to believe that he or she must tolerate sexual advances or engage in sexual conduct in order to avoid adverse consequences at work.
Hostile Work Environment Harassment – This type of sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to abusive, sexual or offensive conduct at work because of his or her gender. Hostile work environment harassment doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual in nature, and becomes unlawful when it is severe enough that the employee believes the conditions of employment have altered and the working environment has become abusive or hostile.
New Jersey Sexual Harassment Cases
According to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, there are several criteria that are necessary in proving that sexual harassment occurred in the workplace, and in finding an employer liable for the harassment. In the case of Lehmann v. Toys ‘R’ Us, (1993), the Court held that a plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit must demonstrate that the “complained of conduct (1) would not have occurred but for the employee’s gender; and it was (2) severe or pervasive enough to make a (3) reasonable woman believe that (4) the conditions of employment are altered and the working environment is hostile or abusive.” The Supreme Court also ruled that an employer may be help strictly liable for “equitable damages,” like back-pay, reinstatement or promotions, for sexual harassment committed by a supervisor.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in NJ
Sexual harassment can be devastating for all parties involved, and individuals accused of sexually harassing an employee or another person at work may face significant adverse consequences, like job loss, career advancement difficulties, or possibility even a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the accuser. Furthermore, if a manager or supervisor is aware of sexual harassment at work and fails to take action to stop the harassment, he or she could be held responsible for tolerating a hostile work environment. If you were made to believe that sexual advances or conduct was a condition of your employment in NJ, consult a reputable employment law attorney now to discuss the possibility of filing a sexual harassment claim against your employer or supervisor.