Sexual Harassment Lawyers in New Jersey
The recent #MeToo movement has inspired numerous individuals, women and men alike, to speak out against others who harassed them sexually.
High-profile individuals once thought to be “above the law” have been brought to justice by sexual harassment victims who took a stand against their attackers.
The movement shed light on how pervasive sexual harassment is in the workplace.
The courage to fight to end sexual harassment is a common trait shared by all the victims who came forward at the height of the #MeToo movement.
The NJ sexual harassment lawyers with O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble will provide you and your family with a superior level of advocacy and support you need to pursue justice for your claim.Let's talk about your case
Sexual Harassment Law in New Jersey
New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits all forms of discrimination in employment, in housing, at places of public accommodation, and anywhere else people have a right to be, such as state agencies, the court system, and hospitals.
Specifically, the LAD bans all discriminatory acts on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and marital status.
The LAD applies with equal force to women, men, and people who identify as transgender.
The law also works in conjunction with other New Jersey and federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to shield people from sexual harassment.
What Is Sexual Harassment Under New Jersey Law?
A highly experienced New Jersey sexual harassment attorney will advise that sexual harassment is a form of gender-based discrimination. Accordingly, a person violates New Jersey’s LAD anytime someone is treated differently because of sex.
Sexual harassment in New Jersey may be quid pro quo harassment or behavior that creates a hostile environment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo is sexual harassment where a person, usually in a position of relative power compared to the other, promises to do something in exchange for a sexual favor.
In the workplace, the employer cannot connect advancement or any other preferential treatment or benefit with a sexual activity.
Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include:
- Promising a benefit such as a raise or promotion in exchange for sexual favors or even going on a date;
- Hiring one person over another based on looks or the possibility of a dating relationship;
- Retaliating against an employee because the employee rejected their supervisor’s advances; or
- Any conduct that is sexually suggestive in nature, including verbal harassment and physical touching.
Retaliation can include any adverse consequence, such as a demotion or a transfer. Termination of employment is not required.
Innocent or flirtatious behavior becomes sexual harassment if the recipient of the advances does not welcome them. Generally, asking a colleague on a date does not violate the LAD in New Jersey. However, conferring an employment benefit based on acceptance of the dating request is sexual harassment.
Hostile Work Environment
Hostile work environment is another form of sexual harassment commonly committed in New Jersey workplaces.
In New Jersey, the law defines a hostile work environment as one that involves unwanted or unwelcome harassing conduct based on gender that is either severe or pervasive.
Examples of hostile work environment sexual harassment include:
- Commenting on a person’s style of dress;
- Repeatedly saying that a person looks nice or doesn’t;
- Commenting on another’s body;
- Telling dirty jokes;
- Discussing one’s sexual conquests; or
- Any other behavior that makes a person feel uncomfortable because of their sex.
The behavior must be either severe or pervasive. Therefore, it is unlikely the telling of a sexually charged joke will create a hostile work environment on its own. However, repeating the behavior or engaging in harassing behavior after receiving a warning from a supervisor could create a hostile work environment.
Federal law and NJ law protect everyone in the workplace. The victim of sexual harassment need not be the object of the unlawful behavior. A victim could be a bystander or someone who overhears what has transpired.
Remedies in New Jersey for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
New Jersey’s LAD is a powerful tool that provides strong incentives for employers to address sexual harassment appropriately.
Sexual harassment is intolerable. Therefore, New Jersey law permits a sexual harassment victim to file a claim for monetary damages, including compensatory and possibly exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages.
Compensatory damages may include back pay, an award for lost wages, medical expenses if the sexual harassment caused physical or emotional injuries, and damages for pain and humiliation. A court could award injunctive relief, costs, and attorney fees as well.
You might have a separate claim based on retaliation if your employer treated you unfavorably because you did something to protect your rights. No employer can retaliate against an employee for blowing the whistle on unlawful behavior in the workplace, including sexual harassment.
Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act
In 2021, Congress passed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act. If you signed an arbitration agreement during the course of your employment, you might have agreed to arbitrate sensitive claims like those based on sexual assault and sexual harassment. Arbitration agreements have long allowed harassers and abusers to force victims into the alternative dispute resolution process.
Harassers can use arbitration to silence victims and keep claims confidential. This process prevents claims from going to court and becoming part of the public record. Alternative dispute resolution typically results in private settlements.
However, it also often locks victims into onerous non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). NDAs are another way victims are silenced and prevented from protecting others from sexual harassment and abuse.
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment and have not come forward because of an arbitration agreement, this change in the law can help.
President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act into Law on March 3, 2022. If you feel more comfortable with arbitration, you can retain the option to do so. But if you would like to have your day in court, you may now be able to achieve that, whether or not you ever signed an arbitration agreement. Talk to a New Jersey sexual harassment attorney to find out how.
What to Do If You are a Sexual Harassment Victim?
Deciding to end sexual harassment is not an easy choice in many cases. Your employer owes you an obligation to investigate and correct the behavior immediately upon receiving a complaint.
Despite both New Jersey law and federal law clearly prohibiting sexual harassment, including retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, deciding to file a complaint or talk to a supervisor is a difficult decision to make.
It is understandable why sexual harassment victims tolerate offensive behavior. The victim might feel like a “snitch” by filing a complaint.
Frequently, people rationalize that their feelings are unjustified because no one else feels like they do or they worry they are overly sensitive.
They might simply try to ignore it with the hope that the behavior will stop. It is time to speak with a New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer if you feel this way.
How Can a New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help You?
Our attorneys are first and foremost staunch advocates for you. When you speak with us, you will empower yourself to act, not only to protect yourself, but to protect your colleagues as well.
A New Jersey sexual harassment attorney will thoroughly investigate your allegations and take all appropriate measures to protect your rights. We will also:
- Obtain a copy of your employer’s discrimination policies;
- Interview witnesses;
- Collect all documentary and physical evidence;
- Prepare and file all necessary pleadings; and
- Advocate aggressively for you.
Under both federal and state law, the victim’s employer must receive notice of the complaint before the victim can take legal action.
Additionally, the law requires that all parties exhaust their administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit.
Finally, all sexual harassment claims are time-sensitive. Failing to file a timely claim will cause you to forfeit your rights.
Taking your employer on without representation can be daunting. No matter how big or small of a company you work for, your employer will assuredly have a lawyer whose sole job is to protect your employer’s interests.
Having legal representation on your side will level the playing field for you and allow you to tell your story. Your NJ harassment attorney has but one duty: to protect you.
Protect Yourself Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
At O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, our New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers have the experience, knowledge, and compassion you need to get you through this difficult time. No one should suffer the indignity of sexual harassment, at work or anywhere else.
We believe firmly that every person has the right to earn a living free from unwelcome sexual advances, quid pro quo, and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Contact us today at 908-928-9200 to talk with us about how we can help you.
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
- Ways to Make a Strong Legal Sexual Harassment Case
- What Are the Long-Term Effects of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
- New Law Prohibits Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment and Assault Claims
- Same-Sex Harassment: What You Should Know
- The Statute of Limitations for Sexual Harassment in New Jersey
- What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in New Jersey?
- Retaliation after Reporting Sexual Harassment
Public school teacher alleged that a supervisor made physical sexual advances towards her in a school office and assaulted her.
Discuss Your Case with Our Sexual Harassment Attorneys Today
At O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, our sexual harassment attorneys have extensive experience dealing with these kinds of extremely sensitive cases. If you suspect sexual harassment, tell us about your situation. Contact us online or call at (908) 928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817 Our sexual harassment lawyers will thoroughly investigate your situation and harassment claims. Based on their findings, you will be provided with the most suitable options to get fair compensation for your troubles. What’s even more important for our team of sexual harassment lawyers is to send a strong message that harassment won’t be tolerated in New Jersey. Get in touch with our sexual harassment lawyers and solve your problems for good.