Sexual harassment in the workplace, whether by supervisors, coworkers, or anyone else, should not be tolerated. Unfortunately, coworker sexual harassment is commonplace throughout New Jersey. If you have been subjected to unwanted comments, conduct, or displays by a colleague, you may have a legal basis for a coworker sexual harassment claim.
At Castronovo & McKinney, our employment law practice is dedicated to helping workers fight back against sexual harassment and to advising employers about their obligations to establish work settings free from harassment.
Whether you have been subjected to coworker sexual harassment or you believe you have a sexual harassment claim, you need the informed representation we provide. When you become our client, we will work to protect your interests and achieve a positive outcome in or out of the courtroom.
Above all, we are committed to helping employees eliminate workplace harassment in all its forms. Contact our Morristown or Manhattan office today so we can start working on your coworker’s sexual harassment case.
Combatting Coworker Sexual Harassment in New Jersey
All forms of workplace harassment, including coworker sexual harassment, are illegal. Harassment is considered an unlawful form of discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and applicable federal laws. It is worth noting that the LAD applies to all employers in the state whereas federal law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Also, the LAD makes it easier for employees to file sexual harassment lawsuits because it is not necessary to file a claim with a government agency first.
In any event, sexual harassment can come in one of two forms — quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority (e.g. owner, supervisor, manager) makes sexual demands of an employee or job applicant.
On the other hand, a hostile work environment arises when offensive comments, conduct, or displays by anyone in the workplace — supervisor, coworker, contractor, vendor, client, customer — interfere with an employee’s ability to perform his or her job. Coworker harassment is frequently the basis of hostile work environment complaints.
An isolated incident or petty inconvenience in the workplace may not be considered sexual harassment; however, the courts have held that a single offensive comment may be severe enough to create a hostile work environment, depending on the circumstances. Examples of coworker misconduct that may constitute sexual harassment include:
- Making an offensive comment directly to another employee
- Making sexually derogatory comments about an employee to others
- Posting offensive displays in the workplace (e.g. on a screen saver, cubicle, bulletin board)
- Sending sexually inappropriate jokes or other offensive material to an employee through email, chat, or other electronic communication
Regardless of the type of misconduct, coworker harassment is illegal; offenders and negligent employers must be held accountable.
How Our Firm Handles Sexual Harassment Claims
At Castronovo & McKinney we are highly experienced in representing victims of coworker sexual harassment. Ultimately, a successful claim requires our skilled employment lawyers to demonstrate that:
- The harassing employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment
- The employer knew or should have known about the harassment
- The employer failed to take corrective action
- You suffered actual damages (lost wages, benefits, emotional distress)
We understand the challenges of making a complaint about workplace harassment and know the potential for retaliation is real, which is why we will work to protect your rights, livelihood, and reputation. Our legal team will handle all the details of your claim, including:
- Conducting an extensive investigation
- Identifying and interviewing witnesses, including the alleged offender
- Preparing and filing legal papers
- Communicating with opposing counsel
- Negotiating a settlement
- Litigating your claim in state court
Above all, we will always work in your best interests and fight to help you obtain just compensation for your losses and emotional harm.
Our attorneys also work with employers to resolve coworker sexual harassment claims before they rise to the level of litigation. We also provide advice and counsel on establishing and implementing anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures.
Recoverable Damages in a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Although no two sexual harassment claims are alike, victims may be able to recover damages such as lost wages (back pay and front pay), compensatory damages for emotional distress and reputational harm, and attorneys’ fees and costs. An employer who knows about coworker sexual harassment and fails to stop it may also be liable for punitive damages.
Given the stakes involved in a coworker harassment claim, the best way for victims and defendants to protect their interests is to work with an experienced sexual harassment attorney.
At Castronovo & McKinney, we believe that no one should have to put up with sexual harassment by a coworker and work with victims to fight back. We also defend the interests of business owners facing workplace harassment claims. Our ultimate objective is to help employees and employers foster positive work environments free from harassment.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Coworker Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Although we prefer to reach negotiated settlements to coworker sexual harassment claims, we are fully prepared to try any employment-related dispute in state court. Trust our attorneys to protect your interests and help you achieve a positive outcome, whether through negotiation, arbitration, or litigation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.