Sexual harassment occurs at many workplaces in New Jersey, despite federal and state laws that make harassment illegal. Given the challenges of proving that you have been sexually harassed, it is essential to work with an experienced sexual harassment attorney.
At Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, we have extensive experience handling sexual harassment claims and a proven history of achieving positive results through negotiation and litigation.
We believe that everyone has a right to a workplace free of harassment and will work strategically to prove your claim. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.
How To Identify Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment involves more than an offhand comment or a joke. When a supervisor or another person in a position of authority makes a sexual advance or demands sexual favors in exchange for a benefit of employment (e.g. job offer, promotion), this is referred to as quid pro harassment. Also, an employee who is disciplined, demoted, or fired for refusing a sexual advance may have a valid sexual harassment claim.
In addition, sexual harassment may involve offensive comments or conduct by supervisors, coworkers, or even clients or customers that are severe and pervasive enough to create an abusive, intimidating, or hostile work environment.
In short, sexual harassment involves any unwanted sexual behavior or offensive conduct of a sexual nature, such as:
- Visual conduct – Staring, leering, or displaying sexually explicit pictures, posters, or computer screen images
- Verbal conduct – Gestures, jokes, or comments of a sexual nature
- Physical conduct – Unlawful touching
Notably, offensive comments need not be of a sexual nature to be considered harassment. For example, a person who makes derogatory comments about all women may be held responsible for sexual harassment.
This may seem straightforward, however, proving that harassment occurred is another matter because these incidents often occur out of earshot, when no one is around to witness the offensive comments or conduct.
How Can I Prove Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
In many cases, sexual harassment occurs when only the victim and the harasser are present, so your case may end up becoming a matter of your word against theirs. Nonetheless, it is crucial to take action when harassment occurs because the situation may only become worse. There are steps you can take to support your claim, including:
Keep a Detailed Record of Incidents
Keeping a personal record of anything that occurs is one way to document sexual harassment. Whether you are the victim of quid pro quo harassment or you have been subjected to a hostile work environment, it is important to keep a record of any time you are treated differently than your co-workers or subjected to inappropriate comments or conduct.
In particular, make a note of what is said or done, the date, time, and location, and whether there were any witnesses. Also, handle your notes with care. Obviously, don’t make a record of harassment on your work computer, and don’t leave your notes on your desk. If you are fired for complaining about harassment or for any other reason, you will lose access to the information.
Save Any Correspondence from the Alleged Harasser
It is important to keep any emails, texts, or notes you may have received from your harasser, no matter how offensive or difficult to read they may be. These communications will serve as important evidence and will be undeniable proof you are a victim of sexual harassment. If the offensive messages have been sent to your phone or computer, print them so you have hard copies in case your electronic devices malfunction.
Report the Harassment to Your Supervisor or Human Resources Personnel
Employers in New Jersey are required to have sexual harassment prevention policies in place as well as a system for reporting incidents of harassment. Whether the company’s policy is for victims to report harassment to a supervisor or the HR department, make your report in writing, document how it was handled, and note if anything changed after your complaint was made.
Once you have the necessary evidence in hand, it is wise to talk to an experienced sexual harassment lawyer who knows how to build a successful case. That’s where Castronovo & McKinney, LLC comes in.
Our legal team will advise you about the legal remedies available to you and work to hold your employer accountable. While sexual harassment claims can often be resolved through negotiations, we will take your employer to court if necessary. You can trust us to guide you through every step of the process and protect your rights and your reputation.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Sexual Harassment Attorney
If you are being sexually harassed at work, you may be frightened and not know what to do. By keeping a detailed record of any incidents, saving any correspondence from the alleged harasser, and reporting the harassment to the appropriate workplace authorities, you can prove your sexual harassment claim. Ultimately, it takes a sharp attorney to use this information as the basis for a successful claim. Contact our office today to get started.
Castronovo & McKinney, LLC helps clients with their sexual harassment claims throughout New Jersey including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, and Morris County as well as the cities of Hackensack, Newark, New Brunswick, and Morristown.