Woman meeting with sexual harassment attorney

How Long Do You Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in New Jersey?

New Jersey law allows victims of sexual harassment in the workplace to seek damages against their aggressors. However, there are important time limits and timing considerations victims must consider when they’re considering filing a claim.

Do you have a claim for sexual harassment?

Before you worry about when you must file your claim for sexual harassment, you must first determine whether you have a claim at all. 

According to New Jersey, the term “sexual harassment” can refer to verbal and physical harassment of a sexual nature. It typically manifests as a hostile work environment or in the form of quid pro quo harassment. 

Hostile Work Environment

A sexual harassment hostile work environment occurs when a person is subject to gender-based harassment that is unwanted and severe or perverse. It can include acts such as unwanted touching, the use of obscene language, comments meant to demean, and the displaying of obscene images.

Also important to know is that sexual harassment in the workplace can occur in person or over a variety of communication mediums, including:

  • Flyers and posters
  • Direct handwritten statements around the worksite
  • Emails
  • Texts
  • Social media posts

Sadly, aggressors attempt to and are often successful in rallying other employees to participate in some form of sexual harassment. 

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo sexual harassment covers the demanding of sexual favors in exchange for a work benefit or to avoid a negative employment result. 

An example of the former would be a supervisor who conditions a subordinate worker’s promotion on the performance of a sexual act. An instance of the latter would be an employer who threatens to fire a subordinate worker unless they perform a sexual favor.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim for Sexual Harassment

Victims of sexual harassment can potentially collect valuable compensation for their damages. However, they must meet the statute of limitations or lose their ability to sue. Victims have two years after being sexually harassed to take legal action. After two years, the claim may no longer be valid.

Continuing Violations Theory of Sexual Harassment

Sadly, sexual harassment in the workplace is not usually limited to one event. Perpetrators typically engage in a continuing pattern of harassment that can last for many months and years. In cases such as these, New Jersey law employs the continuing violations theory. 

The continuing violations theory holds that the statute of limitations does not start ticking until the final act of sexual harassment in a string of acts has occurred. For example, if an employee is sexually harassed for two years, the statute of limitations would not begin ticking until the last day of that two years.

If you feel you have experienced some form of sexual harassment but have questions about timing, contact a law firm with experience representing victims of sexual harassment for the answers you are looking for.

Other Timing Considerations

Although the continuing violations theory allows you to get justice after years of harassment, it is important for you to take legal action as soon as possible after an incident. Swift legal action prevents incidents from being swept under the rug or normalized. 

Acting quickly also helps your attorney build a strong case. For example, witnesses are often an important part of sexual harassment claims. However, the longer you wait to file your claim, the higher the risk that a witness might become unavailable, especially in jobs with high turnover rates. 

Filing a Case for Sexual Harassment

NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC fights for the rights of New Jersey workers by helping them get justice for on-the-job wrongs they have suffered. If you have experienced sexual harassment or other work-related wrongdoing, contact our office today to learn what you can do.