Princeton Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Princeton has close to 30,000 residents. It is home to employers such as Capital Healthcare, Berlitz International, Dow Jones & Company, Johnson & Johnson, Rutgers University, and Princeton University. Sexual harassment unfortunately can happen in any workplace. There are two categories of sexual harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. The latter can be committed by anyone in the workplace: a supervisor, manager, coworker, customer, or client. If you faced hostile work environment sexual harassment on the job, you should consult the Princeton sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates.Grounds for a Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Claim
To be actionable, hostile work environment harassment must be predicated on abusive conduct that is based on a protected characteristic. Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when harassing actions are so severe or so pervasive in the workplace that they alter the terms and conditions of employment and render the work environment hostile and abusive. The harassing actions can include touching, groping, rape, insults, derogatory comments, slurs, pranks, innuendoes, and jokes. These can be performed by either sex. The victim may also be of either sex.
All employers in Princeton should have anti-harassment policies and rules to foster a workplace free of sexual harassment and to allow employees to report their grievances so that future harassing conduct can be prevented and corrective steps can be taken. Unfortunately, not all employers respond appropriately to a hostile work environment claim. If you have been a victim of harassing conduct, you should let the harasser know that the conduct is unwelcome. You should also report it according to the grievance procedures that are set forth in your employment manual. If there are no procedures set out, you should report the harassment to HR both verbally and in writing.Differences Between Federal and State Laws
Both Title VII and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibit hostile work environment sexual harassment. In most cases, the NJLAD provides greater protection than Title VII does. It applies to all employers, instead of just those with a minimum of 15 employees. There are nuances under federal and state laws, and among these nuances are those found in case law. Conduct must be severe or pervasive enough for you to subjectively believe that the environment has been made hostile and for a reasonable person other than yourself to also believe that. However, what this means can vary under Title VII and NJLAD case law, and it is important to consult an experienced attorney about your specific situation.
Under New Jersey law, the court will look at whether a reasonable person would be offended by the conduct about which you are complaining. When there is a pattern of behavior, it is more likely that you will be able to prove a hostile work environment. It can be more challenging to establish a hostile work environment based on a single or only a couple of incidents because in that case, the conduct must be fairly severe to be actionable. A New Jersey court has stated that it would be a rare and extreme case in which a single episode would be so severe that it would, from a reasonable person’s perspective, render the working environment hostile. In one New Jersey case, a woman was terminated after her supervisor made sexist comments about a group of women customers and also used an obscene slur, but the remark was not directed at the plaintiff and was not repeated. This was not considered severe enough to create a hostile work environment. On the other hand, the test for a hostile work environment was met when a plaintiff's supervisor lifted up her shirt to expose her bra strap, grabbed other women employees in her presence, made sexually offensive remarks, and told her to use her sexuality to persuade a new boss to do something.Consult an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer in the Princeton Area
If you have faced hostile work environment sexual harassment on the job, the Princeton attorneys at Phillips & Associates are ready to offer aggressive, experienced representation. Contact us at (609) 722-7315 or via our online form for a free appointment to discuss your case.
100 Overlook Center, 2nd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540