Under both federal and New Jersey State law, sexual harassment is considered a type of discrimination and, as such, is against the law.
The New Jersey Law of Discrimination protects against intentional discrimination, which includes conduct or statements discriminatory in nature, or differential treatment, in this case, based on gender. Be aware that both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can take a variety of forms, including off-color jokes or remarks, sexual teasing or insults, suggestive behavior, leering, propositions (including, but not limited to, asking for sexual favors), physical contact of a sexual nature (kissing, slapping, touching, pinching), the posting of sexually offensive or explicit literature or pictures either in a public place or your personal work area, and questions regarding your sexual activity.
There are two forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo cases involve sexual favors being asked of the employee in exchange for something favorable, such as a promotion or raise, or to prevent something unfavorable, such as a demotion or dismissal. Hostile work environments exist when an employee is exposed to sexually explicit or offensive language or actions at work.
Under the law employers may not sexually harass or permit sexual harassment of their employees. In other words, an employer must take the initiative to ensure their employees are not harassed by anyone they come into contact with in the course of their job, including coworkers, supervisors, clients and customers.
Victims of sexual harassment have the right to report such harassment without the fear of recrimination. Under the law, the employer is obligated to take all claims of sexual harassment seriously, conduct a quick and effective investigation of the complaint and, if found valid, stop the harassment. The employer also cannot retaliate against the employee for reporting the incident.
Because sexual harassment is against the law and can take many forms, it may be necessary for you to utilize the services of an experienced attorney. If you believe you are the victim of sexual harassment, contact Kearns Rotolo Law attorneys to receive advice. Protect your rights. Call Kearns Rotolo Law today.