New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers
New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyer
The law requires an employer who learns of harassment to take “prompt and effective remedial action” to correct it. However, many employers fail to do so. This is particularly so when the harasser is a high-level executive or otherwise seen as valuable to the employer. The harasser may wield control over the harassed individual’s employment opportunities. This creates a power imbalance. Unfortunately, far too many victims of harassment fail to report harassment because they fear retaliation. Data shows that approximately three out of four individuals subjected to harassment don’t report it. The New Jersey Employment Law attorneys at Schall and Barasch have worked with a wide range of victims of sexual harassment. They share below some of the most important facts and lessons they have learned about sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
The recent #MeToo Movement illuminated the dynamics of sexual harassment. We now know how prevalent it is in the workplace. It is apparent that those in positions of power have abused their control. They use their power and influence to sexually harass and assault both women and men. Victims of abuse do not always come forward to complain. Given the danger of retaliation, it’s hard to blame them.
Most of the recent news focused on high-profile men in the media: the Harvey Weinsteins, Bill O’Reillys, and Matt Lauers of the world. We must stress: this conduct represents only the “tip of the iceberg” with sexual harassment. Sexual harassment and sexual assault affects working women in all walks of life – from waitresses, to saleswomen, to architects and even lawyers.
Don’t forget: men can also be victims of sexual harassment and assault. Sexual harassment is an underreported phenomenon to begin with. Men frequently avoid reporting sexual harassment for many of the same reasons women do. The attorneys at Schall and Barasch fight for all victims of sexual assault and harassment regardless of gender.
Types Of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment includes any type of unwelcome verbal or physical sexual advances and In some cases, it may constitute a criminal act. It creates a hostile work environment.
Sexual assault, on the other hand, is always classified as a criminal act. This refers to physical sexual contact or behavior that the victim did not consent to. Examples of sexual assault include the following:
- Rape (penetration of the body of the victim)
- Attempted rape
- Unsolicited sexual touching or fondling
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts (oral sex, penetration of perpetrator’s body, etc.)
Harassers will prey on those who they suspect are the most vulnerable. They single out those who are young, and especially those who may have experienced other difficult issues or trauma in their lives. They also seek out victims lacking a strong social or family network.
How To Report Sexual Harassment
The first thing to do in many cases when you feel you’re being sexually harassed is to ask the perpetrator to stop their behavior. As simple as it sounds, sometimes clearly expressing your concern with the harasser will be enough to deter their behavior. You may do this face-to-face or through a written message. If confronting the harasser makes you uncomfortable for any reason, go straight to Human Resources or to some other supervisor or manager in the company. If you are uncertain about to whom you should report the harassment, it may be a good idea to consult with a sexual harassment attorney for advice.
Most companies should have a handbook, manual, or personnel policies that inform employees what to do in the case of workplace sexual harassment. If your company has this, follow the instructions on dealing with sexual harassment. If not, go to your supervisor or human resources department and ask them what to do. While this may be uncomfortable, it is a necessary step in formally filing a complaint. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, failing to use an employer’s internal complaint procedure and alerting the company of the harassment could prevent you from filing a lawsuit.
While making these initial complaints, it is important that you document everything you are doing. Having records of the times your company was made aware of the situation will help you in the case that they don’t work to resolve it. Any documentation of the inappropriate behavior (pictures, screenshots, videos, etc.) will also be helpful.
The more documentation you have, the stronger your argument will be.
Sexual Harassment Discrimination
Laws are in place that forbid discrimination in any area of employment. These areas include the following:
- Pay and Wages
- Job Assignments
- Fringe Benefits
Sexual harassment can also include any offensive statements regarding a person’s sex. For example, offensive, discriminatory, or derogatory, inappropriate comments about women in general can be a form of sexual harassment.
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a complaint. If you faced threats or retaliation for coming forward about sexual harassment in the workplace, you need to hire job discrimination lawyers ASAP.
According to the United States’ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, workplace sexual harassment includes any “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or other physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Workplace sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Although nearly 85% of victims of workplace sexual harassment are women, the harasser doesn’t always have to be a man. Both men and women can be victims (as well as perpetrators) of sexual harassment. The perpetrator can be anyone from a supervisor, co-worker, an agent of the employer, or even a non-employee.
Moreover, the victim doesn’t always have to be the one being harassed, either. Any employee affected by the inappropriate conduct could also be a victim of workplace sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can be hard to define because there are so many instances in which it could occur. The conduct often interferes with the victim's employment.. This in turn affects their work performance and their emotional well-being. This type of behavior also often creates a hostile work environment.
The consequences of sexual harassment and assault are often severe. Victims experience depression, feelings of intense guilt, and loss of self-esteem--all of which can negatively affect their ability to succeed at work and life.
Is anyone from a boss to a frequent office visitor repeatedly acting in a way that offends you or makes you feel uncomfortable? If so, you may be experiencing sexual harassment. In sexual harassment lawsuits for monetary damages, employers can be liable for compensatory damages, punitive damages, and emotional distress damages. Our firm represents victims of workplace sexual harassment in New Jersey. Fill out our online contact form to get in touch.
Contact New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers Schall & Barasch
While it may have declined during the past year due to COVID-19, sexual harassment in the physical workplace is still happening. In many cases, reduced staffing has created an environment with less oversight and accountability. And while masks have provided a protective barrier of anonymity for some, that same anonymity can also give potential harassers a false sense that they can commit an offense without consequence.
No one should have to feel intimidated or unsafe in their own work environment. If you believe you’ve been subjected to sexual assault or harassment at work and would like advice, guidance, and strategy as to how to deal with it, we encourage you to set up a consultation with our firm. To do so, please click on the link on this page, “Tell Us About Your Case” and complete the online questionnaire. Or, feel free to call us at 856-914-9200.
Richard Schall agues against forced arbitration before the New Jersey Supreme Court