Castronovo & McKinney is a leading employment law firm that specializes in sexual harassment claims in New Jersey. We represent individuals who have faced sexual harassment in the workplace. Our goal is to provide expert legal care in an effort to seek justice and compensation for our clients.
If you’ve faced sexual harassment or a hostile work environment we offer a free completely confidential consultation to discuss your case. We will discuss your concerns and any questions related to your harassment claim as well as a clear way forward on your potential case.
What Defines Sexual Harassment?
Sexual Harassment can take many forms including unwanted advances, physical conduct, persistent verbal comments, or requests for sexual favors. These types of behavior create a negative environment for an employee they constitute harassment and are illegal. Even repetitive comments of a sexual nature can become pervasive and create a hostile work environment and can be considered sexual harassment.
New Jersey laws prohibit any type of sexual harassment in the workplace through the Law Against Discrimination(LAD). LAD prohibits all types of harassment including unwelcome sexual advances, threats, and demeaning behavior. This law provides protections for any employee of a company with 15 or more employees.
Sexual harassment can occur regardless of sex or sexual orientation or position of power. The victim does not need to be a subordinate or may even have only overheard repeated remarks or even a customer or client of the company.
There are two main types of sexual harassment; hostile work environment and Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment. Both are protected by law.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
When an employee feels threatened, unsafe or reasonably uncomfortable in the workplace this may constitute a hostile work environment. Often employees will experience a feeling of dread when going to work and might be objectified, threatened or demeaned.
Often this type of behavior comes in the form of repeated compliments to an employee, sexually charged jokes or other behaviors. They can also take the form of insults or derogatory statements. Even broad statements about someone’s gender can be considered sexual harassment.
In addition, these comments do not need to be directed toward the employee who feels harassed. They could overhead these repeated comments directed at a 3rd party and feel uncomfortable.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee is offered something in return for sexual favors where failure to comply with the requests is met with the threat of negative action
When an employee is met with this type of harassment they feel as though they will be punished in some way such as a demotion, being fired or other negative results like loss of shifts, working fewer hours and others. They may also feel that failure to give in to these requests may negatively impact their ability for upward mobility and not receive promotions, pay raises or other positive work-related rewards.
Regardless if an employee is faced with negative impacts or fears not receiving positive ones this behavior constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment under New Jersey law. Even if the defendant claims that no offers or punitive measures were discussed the plaintiff can still claim that they were implied.
When Does Sexual Harassment Actually Occur?
One-off comments or behavior is typically not enough to pursue a sexual harassment claim. A person’s conduct must be pervasive or severe. Pervasive harassment occurs frequently over time. If someone continues to make sexual advances or jokes of a sexual nature repeatedly it may be considered pervasive. Severe behavior can be a severe one-time event such as something particularly offensive or inappropriate sexual conduct.
Contact Us To Discuss any Sexual Harassment Claim
Your time is limited. You have two years to file a sexual harassment claim. Often it’s important to act quickly and get guidance on your situation so you can understand your rights and the best way forward with your case. Call our offices today to get a free confidential consultation.