As an employee in New Jersey, there are several crucial things you need to know about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Sexual Harassment is Against the Law
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination forbids sexual harassment in employment. Therefore, as an employee, you should not be sexually harassed (a type of gender-based discrimination) in the workplace. This is your legal right, regardless of the type of work you do, the language you speak, or the size or type of your employer. If you feel you are being sexually harassed at your workplace, you are well within your legal rights to file a complaint and/or take legal action against the person responsible for harassing you. It is crucial to note that sexual harassment involves more than making inappropriate advances. Other common forms of sexual harassment include:
- Making offensive comments about someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Sending sexually inappropriate videos or images.
- Making inappropriate sexual gestures.
- Sending suggestive notes, letters, or e-mails.
- Discussing one’s sex life in the presence of an employee.
- Asking sexual questions.
Your Employer Must Address Your Complaints
An employer is required to take action to stop sexual harassment in the workplace if they know or should have known about it. New Jersey employers are required to take action against any person who engages in harassing conduct regardless of what the person’s position at work is. Even when a third party you interact with at work sexually harasses you, your employer is required to take action against them.
Types of Workplace Sexual Harassment
New Jersey law recognizes two types of sexual harassment in the workplace. The first is quid pro quo harassment. This form of harassment involves a threat that if an employee refuses to give in to sexual demands, they will face negative consequences like being fired or an employer trying to make an employee’s submission to sexual demands a condition for a work-related benefit such as a promotion. The second is hostile work environment harassment. This type of sexual harassment arises when you are subjected to harassment in the workplace because of your gender to the extent that the workplace environment begins to feel offensive, demeaning, or intimidating.
Sexual Harassment is Illegal Under Federal and State Law
As much as Federal law also protects New Jerseyans from sexual harassment at work, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination provides two crucial additional protections not found under the Federal law.
- The New Jersey LAD applies to all New Jersey employers, regardless of size, while federal law only applies to employers with not less than fifteen employees.
- The New Jersey LAD protects independent contractors from sexual harassment, while federal law only protects the employees who are legally classified as employees.
- The New Jersey LAD forbids an employer from retaliating against an employee who refuses to submit to sexual demands, files a sexual harassment complaint, or exercises or tries to exercise any other rights under the law.
Contact Our Office Today for Legal Help
Have you or someone you know been a victim of sexual harassment at the workplace? Contact the Trabosh Law Firm and let us fight for your right to a workplace free from harassment.