When sexual harassment turns an employment situation into a virtual nightmare, many victims feel as though they have nowhere to turn. Those who rely on their jobs to earn a living for their families often feel as though they are at the mercy of what is explicitly unlawful behavior on the part of employers or coworkers.
Fortunately, the law does provide remedies intended to assist those who have been subjected to harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace.
If you have had the misfortune of being sexually harassed on the job, it pays to enlist the aid of a sexual harassment lawyer New Jersey residents have long trusted to fight for fairness. We at Eisbrouch Marsh invite you to schedule a no-cost initial consultation to discuss the facts of your case and determine appropriate next steps by calling 201-342-5545.
Sexual Harassment Fundamentals
Workplace sexual harassment is classified as a type of sex discrimination that is forbidden by Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act and by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Harassment of this type may include specific requests for sexual favors, unwelcome advances or other types of offensive physical or verbal conduct. In essence, it is any sort of persistent, continuing conduct that is sexually motivated and results in an intimidating or hostile atmosphere.
The two primary types of recognized sexual harassment are:
- Quid pro quo: when an employer or supervisor engages in harassment and indicates that your employment status is contingent on your willingness to provide sexual favors.
- Hostile work environment: when someone within the workplace persists in subjecting you to unwelcome and overwhelming conduct of a sexual nature that materially impedes your ability to feel comfortable and effective on the job.
Some common examples of conduct found to constitute sexual harassment include:
- Displaying of lewd or pornographic photos, cartoons or other visual representations
- Telling of offensive sexual jokes
- Unwelcome commentary pertaining to an individual’s appearance or manner of dress
- Continued requests for dates
- Physical touching, groping, fondling or other unwelcome contact
- Making raises or promotions conditional on participation in sexual conduct
- Excessive email or telephone contact of a sexual nature
Who Can Be a Victim of Sexual Harassment?
It is important to note that sexual harassment claims may be filed by a wide range of individuals, not just the person specifically targeted by the harasser. It may be that a harasser is not of the opposite sex of the victim. Harassers may be co-workers, supervisors or even individuals working in other areas of the same company.
The category of victims certainly includes those directly harassed by the offender, but it can also encompass anyone else adversely impacted by the conduct. It is also possible for a victim to be subjected to unlawful sexual harassment despite the fact that they were not discharged from their position or did not suffer economic harm. Actionable harassment may even be attributed to clients of an employer, provided that a supervisor was made aware of the problem and did not take steps to stop it.
Because sexual harassment cases are always extremely fact-dependent and each one is different, it is important to seek assistance from seasoned New Jersey labor lawyers with vast experience representing victims in precisely these types of matters. At Eisbrouch Marsh, we bring over 25 years of effective advocacy to bear and are committed to seeking justice on behalf of every client we serve.
What to Do If Sexual Harassment Occurs on the Job
Documentation and creation of an accurate record is an essential part of prevailing in a sexual harassment claim. For that reason, it is important to begin the evidence gathering process as soon as you begin to suspect that you are being subjected to unlawful conduct on the job. Failing to do alert your employer to problems of this sort can seriously jeopardize your case, as it opens the door for supervisors to claim that they were simply unaware of what was happening and had no ability to remedy it.
Key steps in documenting workplace harassment include:
- Reporting the conduct to a supervisor or human resources representative as soon as possible
- Following all formal company policies for handling such disputes
- If the employer does not take action, reporting the harassment to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division on Civil Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
If you choose to pursue an administrative remedy through the Division on Civil Rights, the complaint needs to be filed within 180 days of the relevant discrimination. Pursuing remedies by filing a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court is another option, and such cases must be initiated within two years of the last alleged act of discrimination. The EEOC handles complaints pertaining to federal agencies and oversees alternative dispute resolution processes which must be utilized before a lawsuit may be filed.
The attorneys of Eisbrouch Marsh will promptly assess the details of your claim to help ensure your adherence to these strict time limitations for seeking compensation.
Remedies Available to Sexual Harassment Victims
It should come as no surprise that many victims of workplace sexual harassment are reluctant to report the mistreatment to supervisors, let alone file a lawsuit. The circumstances are often embarrassing, there may be a very real fear of retaliation and many wonder if their reputations may be irreparably damaged by taking a stand in this way. However, sexual harassment is a scourge on any workplace and must be eradicated whenever possible. Further, the law provides remedies for those who are able establish that they were victimized by this type of unfair and offensive conduct.
Successful plaintiffs may be able to receive:
- Placement into a position unfairly denied due to unlawful discrimination
- Back pay with interest
- Reinstatement of lost benefits
- Damages for emotional distress
- Attorney fees
New Jersey Lawyers You Can Trust
At Eisbrouch Marsh, we understand the emotional upheaval and agony workplace sexual harassment can cause. It is our mission to provide caring, compassionate representation to those harmed by this type of insensitive and unlawful conduct, and our 25 years of experience enable us to craft effective legal strategies for each of our clients.
Conveniently located in Hackensack, we regularly serve clients in Bergen County as well as throughout Northern NJ, NYC and the entire greater New York metro area. Contact us at 201-342-5545 to begin the process of seeking justice in your case.
- New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety Division on Civil Rights, Sexual Harassment - Your Rights, https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/factsheets/fact_sexhar.pdf