Defining Sexual Harassment in New Jersey
Despite the media’s focus on sexual harassment, it continues to be a pervasive problem in many workplaces. Nonetheless, sexual harassment is considered a form of unlawful sex discrimination under both state and federal law. The two main forms are quid pro quo and hostile work environment:
Quid pro quo harassment is also referred to as supervisor harassment since it involves a supervisor or person in a position of authority demanding sex either as a condition of employment or in exchange for an employment benefit (e.g. raise, bonus, promotion).
A hostile work environment involves a pattern of unwelcome conduct, comments, or displays by anyone in the workplace — superiors, coworkers, vendors, clients, or customers — that is severe or pervasive enough to interfere with an employee’s ability to perform his or her job.
In other words, sexual harassment involves unwanted sexual behavior, including sexual advances or any visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Specific conduct that may be considered harassment includes:
- Visual conduct — Staring, leering, displaying sexually charged objects, pictures, posters, or cartoons
- Verbal conduct — Making derogatory comments, sexual gestures, slurs, jokes, or commentaries of a sexual nature
- Physical conduct — Unwanted touching up to and including sexual assault
Other actions, such as offering employment benefits in return for sexual favors or threatening or taking retaliatory action (e.g. firing, demotion, pay cut) against an employee who refuses sexual advances, also fall under the banner of sexual harassment.
Although women are more likely to be targeted, anyone in the workplace can be harassed, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or identity, or status in the workplace. If you have been subjected to harassment in your workplace, our legal team will stand by you and protect your rights.
Trust Castronovo & McKinney with Your Claim
Our attorneys understand that victims of sexual harassment are often reluctant to come forward out of fear of retaliation and potential damage to their reputation. We have the skills and experience to protect your rights, your good name, and your livelihood.
When you become our client, we will take the time to understand your circumstances and help you explore all your options. Pursuing a sexual harassment lawsuit is never easy, but we will stand by you every step of the way. At the same time, there are steps you can take to make your case stronger.
In particular, it is helpful to:
- Document offensive comments and conduct
- Address the offender directly regarding the comments or advances to make it clear that the attention is unwanted
- Establish a record of your attempts to resolve the issue whether by a simple statement that the comments are offensive or using company email to create an official copy of your complaint in writing
- Report the harassment according to company policy
Our legal team will rely on this evidence to support your sexual harassment claim and also identify and interview corroborating witnesses. Rest assured, our employment law lawyers will protect your rights and reputation.
You should know that your employer cannot legally retaliate against you in any way for complaining about sexual harassment and can be held liable for taking any adverse employment action (e.g. firing, demotion, reassignment) against you for pursuing a claim.
Finally, we also help businesses defend against sexual harassment claims and also provide counsel on establishing sexual harassment policies and reporting procedures. Above all, we are committed to helping employees and employers create positive, respectful work environments.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Sexual Harassment Attorney
At Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, we understand the stakes involved in sexual harassment claims for employees and employers alike. Whether you need assistance protecting your employment rights or preserving the integrity of your business, working with an experienced sexual harassment attorney is the smart choice. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.