Casual Fridays are common at workplaces throughout New Jersey. While allowing employees to wear more casual attire every Friday may boost morale, creating a more relaxed environment can result in sexual harassment.
If you have been subjected to sexual harassment on a casual Friday in your workplace, turn to Castronovo & McKinney, LLC. We believe you have a right to a work environment free from sexual harassment, not only on a dress-down day but every workday.
Whether you have been subjected to unwanted sexual advances or offensive comments on casual Friday due to your appearance, we can help. Our experienced New Jersey sexual harassment attorneys will determine whether you have a viable claim and help explore your legal options.
When a laid-back workplace becomes an offensive, abusive, or hostile work environment, employers must be held accountable. We have the skills and experience to help you obtain meaningful compensation whether through negotiation or litigation. Contact our Morristown or Manhattan office today to set up an appointment.
The Risks of Sexual Harassment on Casual Fridays
Casual Fridays may be a nice perk for employees, but some may use a more casual environment to make offensive or sexist comments about other co-workers’ attire. Dress-down days are designed to give workers a chance to relax and express themselves to some extent.
On the other hand, a more casual work environment also provides more opportunities for employees to either drop their guard or cross boundaries by making sexual advances, comments, or gestures to coworkers. Commenting about another’s appearance in a sexual or sexist way may constitute sexual harassment, however, regardless of their attire. When employees dress more casually than usual, they still have a right to work without being harassed.
Comments on Casual Fridays That Amount to Sexual Harassment
Although employees are encouraged to dress casually on Fridays, a more casual work environment lends itself to sexual harassment, which is an unlawful form of sex discrimination under federal, state, and local laws.
Sexual harassment on casual Friday may involve a supervisor making sexual advances in return for an raise or other employment benefit (quid pro quo sexual harassment), or anyone in the workplace making offensive comments about an employee’s appearance or sex (hostile work environment.
Sexual harassment on casual Fridays is not limited to offensive, sexual comments; it can include comments about a person’s gender in general, as well as visual, written, or nonverbal comments (e.g. email, text messages).
Identifying Sexual Harassment on Casual Fridays
Sexual harassment in the workplace occurs when offensive conduct or comments are unwelcomed, based on the victim’s sex, and have a negative impact on the working conditions. While women are more likely to be targets of sexual harassment on casual Fridays, harassment can impact anyone regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Examples of sexual harassment on casual Friday include:
- Repeatedly commenting on a coworker’s casual Friday attire
- Using a co-worker’s appearance to make gender-based comments
- Repeatedly complimenting another’s casual dress after being asked to stop
- Sending inappropriate text messages, emails, or Snapchat photos
Despite the challenges of determining what is appropriate and inappropriate in a more relaxed environment, employers should have clear policies about appropriate dress on casual Fridays, However, any policy cannot discriminate on the basis of sex or any other protected characteristics under federal, state, and local laws.
Ultimately, an employer that knew, or reasonably should have known, about sexual harassment on casual Fridays and fails to stop it can be held liable. If you have been harassed at work, it takes an accomplished sexual harassment lawyer to protect your rights.
How Castronovo & McKinney, LLC Can Help
Our attorneys know that victims of sexual harassment may not be aware of their rights, thinking that inappropriate conduct or comments on casual Friday come with the territory. But you should not have to tolerate sexual harassment at any time.
When you become our client, we will conduct an extensive investigation, handle all the details of your claim, and negotiate a settlement with your employer. Although no two cases are the same, you may be able to recover compensation that includes damages such as:
- Lost wages (back pay, front pay)
- Loss benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Attorneys’ fees and costs
While sexual harassment claims can often be resolved through mediation or arbitration, we are always prepared to take a case trial to achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact a New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment on casual Friday, you need the informed representation Castronovo & McKinney, LLC provides. Rest assured, we will fight hard to protect your employment rights. Contact our office today so we can start working on your sexual harassment claim.