Unlawful touching in the workplace is an especially egregious form of sexual harassment. There is a difference between a non-sexual display of affection and harassment, however, and distinguishing lawful from unlawful touching is difficult. Although unlawful touching is illegal under federal and state laws, it takes an experienced sexual harassment lawyer to protect your rights.
At Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, we are committed to protecting workers in New Jersey from harassment in all its forms. If you have been subjected to unlawful touching in the workplace, we will provide you with powerful representation when you need it most. We believe that all employees have a right to a work environment free from harassment, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
When you become our client, you will have comfort knowing that our dedicated advocates are on your side. Contact our Morristown or Manhattan office today to set up an appointment.
Protecting New Jersey Workers Against Unlawful Touching
Sexual harassment in the workplace can occur in a number of ways. Depending on the circumstances, harassment may involve unwanted sexual demands in exchange for an employment benefit (“quid or quo harassment”) or comments or conduct that create a hostile work environment. In any event, either form of harassment may involve unlawful touching.
Unlike certain types of physical contact that are customary, such as a handshake or an occasional pat on the back, touching becomes sexual harassment when a touch is unwelcome, inappropriate, or makes the victim uncomfortable. Moreover, violent touching is not only harassment; it may also lead to criminal charges.
Example of Unlawful Touching in the Workplace
Any type of touching can be construed as harassment, particularly if it creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment. Examples include:
- Hand holding
- Brushing/rubbing against another’s body
- Unwanted sexual contact
- Physical assault
While a non-severe, isolated incident may not be seen as harassment, a serious, unwelcome touch or a pattern of inappropriate touching is unlawful. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), unwelcome touching of an intimate body part is considered sexual harassment, and a single incident of unwanted physical contact may create a hostile work environment.
Employees in New Jersey are Protected Against Unlawful Touching
Sexual harassment, including unlawful touching, is a form of sex-based discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). An employer that knew, or reasonably should have known, about workplace harassment, can be held liable for not stopping it.
This means that you have a right to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages if you have been subjected to unlawful touching in the workplace. This is where Castronovo & McKinney comes in. When you become our client, we will take the time to understand your circumstances, and handle all the details of your claim, including:
- Conducting a thorough investigation
- Assisting with documenting incidents of unlawful touching
- Obtaining and reviewing the offender’s employment file for similar complaints
- Identifying and interviewing witnesses
- Filing necessary legal papers
- Taking over communications with your employer and opposing counsel
- Negotiating a settlement
- Filing a sexual harassment lawsuit if necessary
Although taking action against your employer is not easy, and victims are often reluctant to come forward out of fear of retaliation, it is the best way to protect your rights and to prevent others from experiencing unlawful touching in the workplace.
Damages You May Be Able to Recover
If you have been subjected to unlawful touching or unwanted physical contact at work, we will explore all your options for obtaining compensation. Although no two sexual harassment cases are the same, you may be awarded damages including:
- Compensatory damages (e.g. back pay, front pay)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Because state and federal law allow you to recover attorneys’ fees and reasonable court costs, you will not have any out-of-pocket legal expenses.
Why You Need Castronovo & McKinney
We understand the lingering humiliation that victims of unlawful touching experience and will provide you compassion, knowledge, and dependable service. While sexual harassment claims can often be resolved through alternative dispute resolution (e.g. mediation, arbitration), we prepare each case for trial to strengthen our hand at the bargaining table. If litigation becomes necessary, we have a proven history of achieving successful outcomes in state and federal court.
We also provide defensive strategies to business clients against unwarranted claims of sexual harassment and work with them to establish anti-harassment policies and procedures. Above all, we are committed to helping employees and employers establish positive work environments that are free from sexual harassment.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Sexual Harassment Attorneys
If you have been subjected to unlawful touching in the workplace, turn to Castronovo & McKinney, LLC. We will fight to protect your rights, preserve your reputation and help you obtain financial resources to compensate you for all your losses. Contact our office today for a consultation.