woman with hand up saying no to hostile work

You have the right to work in a safe environment, free from harassment or unwanted sexual advances. Even though New Jersey and federal laws make sexual harassment illegal, the sexual harassment lawyers at NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC see it happen all too many times.

Have you been sexually harassed at work? Have you been intimidated into staying silent? Contact our Newark sexual harassment attorneys today.

Defending Your Rights When You’re in a Hostile Work Environment

Sexual harassment can have a devastating effect on the victims. Many develop post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression from their harassment, especially when their complaints fall on deaf ears. 

A sexual harassment victim can suffer professionally, too, with their promotion chances compromised or their professional reputation tarnished.

Some Newark employers may not realize that sexual harassment is happening in the workplace — victims may be intimidated into staying silent or be afraid that no one will believe them. 

Other times, some people may think of this unacceptable behavior as “just boys being boys” or “just off-color jokes” and not realize that their sexually charged conversation or comments are creating a hostile work environment.

When you recognize sexual harassment in the workplace, you can start standing up for your rights — and the legal team at NJ Employment Lawyers can help.

What is sexual harassment in a New Jersey workplace?

Sexual harassment can take many forms, such as:

  • Making sexual advances, or asking someone on a date and not taking no for an answer
  • Making sexual comments toward or about a person
  • Asking for sexual favors
  • Touching someone sexually or with the intent to arouse

In fact, the last form of sexual harassment may also be sexual abuse, which is a felony in New Jersey.

Although sexual harassment can often come from a male boss toward a female subordinate, the fact is that anyone can be sexually harassed at work, male or female, and it can happen between coworkers — not just between boss and subordinate. Sexual harassment takes two main forms:

“Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is transactional — sexual favors in exchange for preferential treatment at work, such as:

  • Better sales territories or clients
  • Promotions or plum lateral moves
  • Better perks, like a larger expense account or work-from-home privileges
  • Assignments to projects with high visibility
  • Bonuses or a large raise

There is a natural power imbalance in quid pro quo sexual harassment, as the person requesting favors has the ability to grant certain work privileges. Victims in this situation may fear losing their job if they don’t comply.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

A hostile work environment because of sexual harassment does not have the same transactional nature as quid pro quo. The victim is not being offered work perks or special privileges in exchange for sexual actions. It can be just as harmful to the victim’s mental health, though, and easily causes their performance at work to suffer.

Hostile work environment behaviors can include:

  • Unwelcome comments about one’s body or appearance
  • Dirty jokes or sexually explicit conversations in shared workspaces
  • Discriminatory remarks about someone’s gender or sexual orientation
  • The viewing or sharing of pornographic videos or images, either on a personal device or using work devices

In order to prove a hostile work environment, your Newark sexual harassment lawyer must prove that the behavior was pervasive enough to irreparably alter the conditions of your employment and leave you unable to work effectively in the situation.

Any type of sexually based advances, behavior, conversation, jokes, or direct comments can be considered sexual harassment. When it happens consistently, then it creates a hostile work environment. 

If an employer knows about harassing behavior or has received complaints about sexually motivated comments and fails to stop them, the employer can be held liable for permitting a hostile work environment.

What damages are available in a Newark sexual harassment claim?

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) specifically prohibits sexual harassment at work. 

If you have been a victim, either in a hostile work environment or through quid pro quo, contact one of the sexual harassment attorneys at NJ Employment Lawyers. We can help you learn about your legal options and discuss a lawsuit against the company and the specific persons who harassed you.

Damages in a sexual harassment suit include economic or quantifiable losses, like loss of earning potential from missed promotions or work opportunities. You are also eligible for non-economic damages, like your emotional trauma from the abuse.

Book an Appointment with an Experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney in Newark, NJ

If you suffered sexual harassment at work or were sexually assaulted, our skilled Newark employment attorneys can seek justice on your behalf. Our lawyers can help you understand your legal options and fight to get you compensatory damages for your losses. We offer free consultations, so call us today!