Newark, New Jersey Sexual Harassment
As an employee, you have a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment. This means you cannot be threatened or promised a workplace benefit in exchange for sex. It also means that you have the right to a non-hostile work environment.
Many people blame themselves for sexual harassment, wrongly believing they have brought it on themselves. Unfortunately, these feelings prevent employees from reporting harassment in a timely manner or stops them from raising their voices altogether. But you can stop the harassment before it affects someone else. Speak to a Newark sexual harassment attorney for help bringing a sexual harassment charge.
“Quid Pro Quo” Harassment
A quid pro quo is a request for sex in exchange for a benefit or a threat. For example, your boss might promise to promote you if you sleep with him, or he might threaten to fire you if you refuse his sexual advances. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is flatly illegal, though you typically have to be propositioned by someone in a supervisory position. If you have been threatened or propositioned, you should fully document the situation by preserving communications and writing down your memories of the conversation.
Hostile Work Environment
Both state and federal law protect against more than quid pro quo sexual harassment. These laws also prohibit workplaces that become abusive, oppressive, or harassing because of unwelcome, offensive sexual conduct. A range of conduct can be offensive, including:
- Sexual jokes
- Unwanted touching or groping
- Sexual put-downs
- Sexual imagery
- Sexual nicknames
- Conversations or questions about a person’s sexual history
- Offensive generalizations about either gender
Sexual harassment is not limited to men offending women, or bosses harassing subordinates. The offenders and victims can be of either gender, and coworkers can also harass each other. Believe it or not, the offensive conduct does not even need to be sexual in nature. For example, jokes, epithets, and generalizations that denigrate men or women in general can create a sufficiently hostile work environment.
Typically, a stray offensive comment will not create a hostile work environment. Instead, there must be a pervasive or severe pattern. However, a single instance of offensive contact might qualify, depending on the circumstances. To check whether you have a viable claim, schedule a consultation with a Newark sexual harassment lawyer.
Protecting Your Rights
The first step to protecting your rights is to file a discrimination charge with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. You must file the charge before you can bring a lawsuit. Unfortunately, you do not have an unlimited time to complain, so you should act fast. Because you may feel shaken, and because it is important to file the charge properly the first time, you should work with a sexual harassment attorney in Newark.
Legal Help is Here
Sexual harassment often leaves employees feeling powerless and embarrassed. But part of recovering is to fight the harassment and protect yourself and others in your position. At the Sattiraju Law Firm, our Newark, NJ sexual harassment lawyers have helped many employees, male and female, pursue compensation for sexual harassment. Recently, we prevailed at trial on a hostile workplace claim to the tune of $22.6 million—the largest employment law verdict in New Jersey. Please reach out to us today.