Coworker Sexual Harassment in New Jersey
Coworker sexual harassment cay be humiliating and offensive. While you may hope to be taken seriously on the merits of your work, a coworker who calls attention to your sex or gender, or who makes unwelcome sexual advances or jokes may cause serious discomfort and emotional distress. If you are subjected to coworker harassment, your employer should take prompt corrective steps. If it does not, you may be able to recover damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). The New Jersey sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates can assist you in bringing a claim.Coworker Sexual Harassment
To be unlawful, a coworker’s sexually charged conduct must be so severe or pervasive that it creates a work environment that would be hostile or intimidating to reasonable people of the victim's sex or gender. For example, if your coworker sends you sexually graphic emails or texts or makes sexual comments on a weekly basis for many weeks, this would likely be considered hostile work environment harassment. The employer is liable for this type of harassment by a coworker if its negligence allowed or ratified the harassment.Employment Policies
Employers may be liable for a coworker's sexual harassment based upon a negligent failure to keep in place effective anti-harassment or anti-discrimination policies. While the Federal law requires at least 15 employees to file a claim under Title VII, the NJLAD outlaws sexual harassment even for employers that have just one or two employees.
New Jersey courts have determined that employers may have constructive knowledge of a hostile work environment created by a coworker by failing to keep in place an effective sexual harassment policy that provides employees with a reasonable way to internally complain. Although this theory expands employer liability in New Jersey to situations in which there was no express notice to the employer, it is wise to notify your harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and to use any internal grievance procedure to allow your employer to correct the situation. Depending on the factual circumstances, you may not be able to recover damages for coworker harassment if you did not give your employer the opportunity to do the right thing.Damages Under Federal and State Laws
Title VII caps the damages available for sexual harassment based on the employer's size, and it only applies to employers with at least 15 employees. For most sexual harassment cases, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination provides a larger scope of protection and allows for greater damages.Retain an Aggressive Sexual Harassment Attorney in New Jersey
Coworker sexual harassment may make a job extremely unpleasant and result in tremendous emotional distress. You do not need to, or have to, put up with this behavior. The New Jersey attorneys at Phillips & Associates are aggressive and knowledgeable advocates for employees who have been subjected to sexual harassment. You should contact us as soon as you think that you may have a claim. Contact us at (609) 436-9087 or through our online form to set up an appointment. Our employment lawyers help people in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington and Camden Counties.
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