Supervisor sexual harassment in New Jersey workplaces is commonplace, and it is illegal: harassment on any level is considered an unlawful form of discrimination under state and federal law. If you have been subjected to sexual advances or offensive comments by your supervisor, it takes a skilled sexual harassment attorney to protect your rights.
Castronovo & McKinney, LLC is a premier employment practice dedicated to eliminating workplace harassment in all its forms. Pursuing a sexual harassment claim against a supervisor is daunting, but it is critically important to stand up for your rights and help prevent other employees from a similar fate.
When you become our client, we will take the time to understand your circumstances, work to substantiate your supervisor sexual harassment claim, and help you explore all your legal options.
Ultimately, the resolution of a sexual harassment claim can have lasting implications for all concerned, employees, supervisors, and employers. Regardless of your status, the best way to protect your rights is to have the powerful representation we provide. Contact our Morristown or Manhattan office for a consultation.
What is supervisor sexual harassment in New Jersey?
Supervisor sexual harassment falls under the banner of “quid pro quo” harassment, which arises when a supervisor or another person in a position of authority makes sexual demands as a condition of employment or in exchange for a benefit of employment (e.g. raise, bonus, or promotion).
Types of supervisor misconduct that may be considered sexual harassment include:
- Making unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or sexually suggestive comments (including text messages and emails)
- Making uninvited comments about an employee’s appearance
- Asking intimate questions about an employee’s sexual history
- Denying a promotion or other job benefit to an employee who rejects a sexual advance
- Taking an adverse employment action (firing, demoting, disciplining) against an employee who complains about sexual harassment
- Retaliating against an employee who cooperates in an investigation of a sexual harassment claim
In any event, supervisor sexual harassment is prohibited under federal and state law, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
- The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD)
It is worth noting that Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees. This federal law also requires you to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit. LAD applies to all employers in New Jersey, regardless of the size of their companies, however, and allows you to take legal action without filing a claim with the state Division of Civil Rights.
At Castronovo & McKinney, we leverage our skills and experience to prosecute and defend sexual harassment claims in state court. While employment-related disputes can often be resolved through negotiations, we are fully prepared to litigate. Rest assured, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights in and out of the courtroom.
When is an Employer Responsible for Sexual Harassment?
Determining whether an employer is responsible for workplace harassment in New Jersey is complicated, however, employers can be either be found vicariously liable or negligent for supervisor sexual harassment.
Vicarious liability arises when the supervisor purports to act on the employer’s behalf and requires demonstrating the following elements:
- The employer delegated authority to the supervisor to control the situation of the complaining employee
- The supervisor exercised that authority
- The exercise of that authority resulted in sexual harassment
- The authority delegated to the supervisor by the employer aided him or her in sexually harassing the employee
An employer can also be held negligent for harassment when the employer fails to exercise due care concerning incidents of workplace harassment and the breach of this duty caused the employee’s harm. Demonstrating an employer’s negligence depends on whether the employer:
- Has in place formal policies prohibiting harassment in the workplace
- Has formal and informal complaint structures in place for employees
- Requires sexual harassment training for its supervisors and other employees
- Has effective monitoring systems to ensure policies are followed
- Has made it clear that there is zero-tolerance for sexual harassment
In short, an employer will not be held liable for workplace harassment if the employer can show that:
- Reasonable care was taken to prevent and to promptly correct sexually harassing conduct, and
- The employee unreasonably failed to utilize preventive or corrective procedures provided by the employer
Given the challenges of pursuing and defending supervisor sexual harassment claims, it is wise to work with an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer. Trust Castronovo & McKinney to provide you with powerful representation when you need it most and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Recoverable Damages in a Supervisor Sexual Harassment Claim
Although no two claims are alike, you may be entitled to meaningful compensation, including back pay, front pay, damages for emotional distress and reputational harm, as well as punitive damages. Back pay, which is typically awarded when an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee for filing a sexual harassment complaint, includes:
- Paid time off
- The monetary value of employment benefits (e.g., health insurance, retirement benefits)
Ultimately, it takes a skilled sexual harassment attorney to win you the compensation you deserve, whether through negotiation or litigation.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Supervisor Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Whether you have been harassed by your supervisor or your business is facing a supervisor sexual harassment claim, turn to Castronovo & McKinney. Above all, we will always work in your best interests and make sure your rights and reputation are protected. Contact us today to learn how we can help.