Phillips & Associates

New Jersey Hostile Work Environment

New Jersey Employment Discrimination Lawyers Fighting Workplace Harassment

One type of workplace harassment is known as hostile work environment. Often it arises in the context of sexual harassment, which is prohibited under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. However, it can also arise in the context of religious, racial, pregnancy, color, gender identity, disability, or other protected categories. The workplace harassment must be either frequent or quite severe to be actionable. At Phillips & Associates, our New Jersey hostile work environment lawyers can review your case and evaluate whether you have a basis to bring a hostile work environment lawsuit.

What Is a Hostile Work Environment?

Your employer should provide you with a work environment that is free from harassment, which is a form of discrimination. Harassment is actionable if it creates a hostile work environment. This is established if you can prove that actions and words used against you in the workplace would cause a reasonable person who falls within the same protected category, such as sex or race, to feel intimidated or offended such that the terms of employment have been altered.

Offensive conduct that is directed towards you because of your sex, race, pregnancy, disability, religion, color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity or membership in other protected categories may create a hostile work environment. Actions or gestures that might be considered to contribute to a hostile work environment include:

  • groping,
  • touching,
  • assault,
  • inappropriate remarks,
  • sexual or racial epithets,
  • explicit emails,
  • pornographic images,
  • yelling and screaming,
  • and swearing.
Harassment Must Be Severe or Pervasive

The hostile work environment is only created if the harassment is either severe or pervasive. Severity refers to how offensive the words or actions are, while pervasiveness refers to how often the harassment occurs. In order for one act of harassment to qualify as hostile work environment harassment, it must be extreme. Alternatively, a series of minor incidents can be so pervasive that they generate a hostile work environment. For example, if you are repeatedly called slurs and subject to offensive jokes by coworkers, and your manager witnesses this and does nothing, this is likely a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment attorney at our New Jersey office can help you bring a claim in this situation.

Although an employer is strictly liable for harassment by a supervisor or manager, it can also be held liable for harassment by a coworker if it knows about the harassment and doesn't take steps to protect the victim.

Damages for a Hostile Work Environment

If you successfully establish a hostile work environment claim, you may be able to recover damages. These are capped if your claim arises out of federal laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you bring your claim based on the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the remedies may include back pay, compensatory damages, emotional distress damages, injunctive relief to make the work environment better, punitive damages and interest on lost wages.

Consult a Hostile Work Environment Lawyer in New Jersey to Protect Your Rights

If you believe in reasonable good faith that you have been subject to a hostile work environment, you are entitled to complain about the harassment. Although it can be stressful to bring a discrimination claim against your employer, most anti-discrimination laws that prohibit harassment include a provision against retaliation so that your employer may owe additional damages if it retaliates against you. The New Jersey hostile work environment attorneys of Phillips & Associates may be able to help you recover damages. Contact us at (609) 436-9087 or through our online system. We help clients in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington, and Camden Counties.

100 Overlook Center, 2nd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel: 609-436-9087

Managing Partner in New Jersey - Bryan Arce

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I was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
I highly recommend Parisis (Gerry) Fillippatos with Phillips & Associates to represent you for employment related matters. He and his team were professional, attentive to every detail and brilliant at identifying the legal grounds to win the case. Parisis's communication and delivery were highly articulate and precise. He is personable and makes you feel comfortable in the maze of legal jargon. Finally, his confidence, perseverance and masterful negotiation skills deliver the win. Anonymous
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