New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Sexual Harassment in the Era of the Me-Too Movement
The recent Me-Too Movement has now brought us a much greater understanding of how the dynamics of sexual harassment in the workplace play out: how those in positions of power have used their power to sexually harass, abuse and assault women and how and why the victims of their abuse may not have always come forward to complain.
And while much of this recent news has been focused on high-profile men in the media – the Harvey Weinsteins, Bill O’Reilly’s and Matt Lauers of the world — it must be stressed that their conduct represents only the “tip of the iceberg,” with sexual harassment and assault affecting working women in all walks of life – from waitresses, to saleswomen, to architects and lawyers.
As a result of having handled sexual harassment cases for women here in New Jersey both before and now during the Me-Too Movement, we point out below some of the most significant facts and lessons we have learned about how sexual harassment operates and how it should be dealt with:
Consent or Coercion
The defense of “consent” raised by the perpetrators of sexual harassment or assault to defend their conduct almost always doesn’t hold up. Typically, any so-called “consent” that may be extracted results only because of a huge imbalance of power between the perpetrator — holding a position as CEO, manager, or supervisor — and the woman reporting to him.
Because of this power imbalance and the control that the harasser may wield over the harassed individuals employment or work environment, victims of harassment rightfully fear retaliation if they report it. As a result, data shows that approximately three out of four individuals subjected to harassment do not report it.
“Where there is smoke, there is often fire.” We have found that those who engage in harassment or sexual assault are often “serial harassers,” with evidence being uncovered in litigation showing that he has harassed a number of others over time.
Lack of Remedial Action
Although the law requires that when an employer learns of harassment it is required to take “prompt and effective remedial action” to deal with it, many employers fail to do so, particularly where the harasser is a high-level executive or otherwise seen as “valuable” to the employer’s bottom-line.
Harassers will prey on those who they suspect are the most vulnerable. They single out those who are young; those who may have experienced other difficult issues or trauma in their lives; or who those who are without a strong social or family network.
The consequences of sexual harassment and assault are often severe, with the victims experiencing depression, feelings of intense guilt, and loss of self-esteem – all of which can negatively affect their ability to succeed at work.
What You Should Do
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 would encourage you to set up a consultation with our Firm. To do so, please click on the link on this page, “Help Us Understand Your Case” and complete the on-line Questionnaire. Or, feel free to call us at 856.914.9200.
* In every year since 2014, the law firm of Schall & Barasch has been included in the Tier 1 list of best law firms in New Jersey practicing in the field of employment law on behalf of individuals. This list is compiled by U.S. News & World Report. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.
** The methodology for the Avvo ratings of Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch can be found at www.avvo.com/support/avvo_rating.
*** In every year since 2009, Richard Schall has been chosen to be included on the list of Best Lawyers in New Jersey practicing in the field of labor and employment law. The Best Lawyers list is issued by Best Lawyers International. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.bestlawyers.com/about/MethodologyBasic.aspx.
**** In every year since 2005, both Patricia Barasch and Richard Schall have been chosen to be included on the list of Super Lawyers in New Jersey practicing in the field of employment law on behalf of plaintiffs. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html.
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