All employees have a right to a work environment free from sexual harassment. They also have the right to report harassment and take legal action without fear of retaliation. If your employer fired you after you complained about sexual harassment, consult an experienced wrongful termination attorney at Castronovo & McKinney, LLC.
As a leading employment law practice in New Jersey, we are committed to protecting employees against wrongful termination due to sexual harassment. We believe no one should tolerate harassment in the workplace or accept getting fired for complaining about harassment. Contact us today to learn how we can help.
About Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Sexual harassment is common in situations involving a power imbalance, such as a supervisor over a staff member. When a supervisor, manager, or business owner makes sexual demands in exchange for an employment benefit, it is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment. This can also involve terminating an employee for refusing a sexual advance or complaining about harassment.
Another common scenario occurs when anyone in the workplace (supervisor, coworker, vendor, customer) subjects an employee to offensive comments, actions, or displays of a sexual nature that create a hostile work environment or lead to an adverse employment action, such as termination. Regardless of how it occurs, sexual harassment in the workplace violates federal and state laws.
Wrongful Termination Based on Sexual Harassment
Employment is at will in New Jersey, meaning an employer can fire you for any reason or no reason. However, you cannot be fired for a discriminatory reason or for engaging in protected activity, such as complaining about the incident.
Sexual harassment is considered unlawful discrimination based on sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).
Title VII only covers employers with 15 or more employees. Also, you must file a complaint about sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before filing a lawsuit. The NJLAD covers all employers in the state, regardless of the number of employees, and does not require you to pursue an administrative complaint before filing a lawsuit.
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires someone for an illegal reason, such as refusing sexual advances, complaining to human resources about the harassment, or filing an administrative complaint.
Employment Retaliation Is Illegal In New Jersey
The NJLAD prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and also forbids employment retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activity, such as complaining about discrimination or harassment or testifying as a witness in a sexual harassment case. Examples of illegal retaliation include:
- Disciplining an employee
- Reassigning or demoting an employee
- Cutting an employee’s pay
- Giving an employee a poor performance review
- Terminating an employee
This means you may have a valid employment retaliation claim even if your employer stops short of firing you for complaining about the harassment.
How Our Firm Can Help
If you suspect your employer fired or retaliated against you for refusing a sexual advance or complaining about harassment, don’t go it alone. Employers have the upper hand in employment decisions and know how to disguise their discriminatory and illegal motives. At Castronovo & McKinney, we have the knowledge, skills, and determination to hold your employer accountable for wrongful termination due to sexual harassment.
Trust our legal team to guide you through the process and handle all the details of your claim, including:
- Conducting an extensive investigation
- Interviewing any witnesses
- Obtaining records of your complaint with human resources
- Communicating with your employer and their attorneys
- Negotiating a fair and just settlement
- Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit if necessary
Knowing that being fired for complaining about sexual harassment is a terrible ordeal, we will work to resolve your claim quickly and amicably. However, we will take your case to trial if necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Either way, we will fight to protect your rights and restore your sense of dignity.
Recoverable Damages For Wrongful Termination
The following damages may be available in a wrongful termination claim:
- Lost wages – back pay and front pay
- Lost bonuses and commissions
- The value of lost benefits (e.g. health insurance, vacation pay)
- Compensatory damages for pain and suffering
- Emotional distress damages
- Reputational harm
- Liquidated damages
- Attorney fees and court costs
Above all, our legal team will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Wrongful Termination Attorney
Getting fired can turn your world upside. Being fired for complaining about sexual harassment is illegal. Contact our office today so we can start working on your wrongful termination claim.