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How to Prove Sexual Harassment in New Jersey

Sexual harassment in a work environment or other designated public places is illegal in New Jersey. You can even gain compensation after you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment — but only if you can prove in court that it happened and that it harmed you. 

If you’re dealing with sexual harassment at work, you’re not alone. The law is on your side, and most New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers offer free consultations to advise you on what to do. If you want to know how to prove sexual harassment in New Jersey, follow the steps below.

Know What Type of Sexual Harassment You’re Dealing with

If you want to prove that sexual harassment is happening to you, you need to start by knowing what you’re dealing with. New Jersey law recognizes two main forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and a hostile work environment.

Here’s what they consist of and how they’re proven in a New Jersey court. 

Proving Quid Pro Quo 

Quid pro quo is when someone has suggested you engage in sexual activity either as a reward or to avoid a negative consequence. A classic example of quid pro quo sexual harassment is when a workplace superior implies you might receive a raise if you participate in sexual activity — or lose out on a promotion if you don’t.

To prove quid pro quo sexual harassment, you need to show the following: 

  • You’re an employee or applicant of a company
  • Someone made an unwanted sexual proposition to you 
  • The person who did this works for the same company
  • The person suggested either positive or negative work-related consequences
  • You suffered damages

If you’ve been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you should contact a sexual harassment lawyer immediately. This type of behavior is illegal and a serious violation of your rights. A lawyer can advise you on the specific evidence you’ll need to provide, given your situation. 

Proving Hostile Work Environment

In the case of hostile work environment sexual harassment, it’s not necessary for someone to have directly propositioned you or made threats or promises related to your job. 

Instead, a hostile work environment refers to sexual behavior occurring in the workplace that is unwanted or makes you feel uncomfortable. This can include physical contact, gestures, comments, images, drawings, or anything else that is sexual in nature. 

Proving a hostile work environment requires showing a pattern of ongoing behavior. An isolated incident usually won’t qualify as grounds for legal action unless it meets the criteria for quid pro quo sexual harassment listed above.

Document the Incidents

Whichever type of sexual harassment you’re dealing with, you’ll need to have evidence to provide to the court. The more documentation you can provide, the stronger your case will be. 

Anything you have in writing showing sexual harassment, like emails, texts, or notes, should be saved. Document instances of physical, verbal, or visual sexual harassment in writing. Keep a log of each incident, including the date, time, people present, and events. This evidence can be used as proof to support your claims. 

Report the Behavior Internally to Your Employer

If your workplace has a system in place for reporting sexual harassment, take advantage of this each time there’s an incident. Even if the person in question doesn’t stop the behavior, workplace reporting establishes official documentation that the events constitute a pattern of behavior across time. 

Speak with a Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Finally, you should speak with a sexual harassment lawyer about your situation. If you have been making reports and documenting instances of harassment, you may already have the evidence you need to take legal action.

If you don’t have this evidence, a lawyer will advise you on what to do going forward and can help you build a case against your employer. There’s no room for sexual harassment in the workplace. If it’s happening to you, call a New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer at NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC today.