To determine whether a Company will be liable for sexual harassment under New Jersey Law, a jury will evaluate three issues:
Whether the alleged conduct actually occurred;
Whether the conduct was sexual harassing (was the conduct “severe” or “pervasive” enough to make a reasonable woman believe that the conditions of employment were altered and the working environment was intimidating, hostile or abusive.)
Whether the Company should be held liable for any alleged emotional distress damages plaintiff may have suffered.
This inquiry requires that one of the following three theories are met: (i) whether the Company knew or should have known about the sexual harassment and failed to take prompt and adequate remedial action; (ii) whether the supervisor abused authority delegated to him by the Company; or (iii) whether the Company was negligent by failing to prevent the harassment (no well-publicized and enforced anti-harassment policies, no effective formal and informal complaint structures, no anti-harassment training programs; or no sexual harassment monitoring mechanisms)
A Company will be held strictly liable for any equitable damages if the sexual harassment was performed by a supervisor.
This is a general overview. If you have any questions regarding each issue, please contact us to discuss. We will provide additional information in future blog entries regarding each issue.
March 19, 2010 – Tom McKinney – Castronovo & McKinney – Sexual Harassment Attorneys