The law office of Robert A. Tandy, LLC

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment
11 Nov 2009 Uncategorized

Sexual Harassment

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) prohibits harassment based on one’s sex. All employees have the right to a work environment free of discrimination and harassment.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Generally, there are two types of sexual harassment. “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs when an employee’s submission to (or rejection of) sexual conduct is, implicitly or explicitly, the basis for employment decisions. “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome sexual, abusive, intimidating or offensive conduct specifically based on an individual’s gender that is severe or pervasive to make a reasonable woman believe that the conditions of employment have been altered creating a hostile or abusive workplace.

Both types of sexual harassment are illegal and may be committed by men and women, and the victims of sexual harassment may be male and female. Sexual harassment may occur between individuals of the same sex: a man may sexually harass a man and a woman may sexually harass a woman.

What Types of Conduct Constitute Sexual Harassment?

Types of sexual harassment typically include, but are not limited to, unwelcome touching, rubbing, hugging, patting, pinching or other unwelcome touching; verbal abuse; jokes; insults; threats; graffiti; conversations about sex; sexually explicit or degrading materials (posters, magazines, calendars, etc.); leering, whistling or gestures; demanding sexual favors; assault; sexual innuendo; sexual propositions; sexually charged e-mails; comments about one’s physical characteristics.

What Can You Do If You Are Sexually Harassed

  • Complain immediately (verbal and written) to Human Resources, your supervisor or another supervisor if your direct supervisor is the individual engaged in the harassment, or to the individual responsible for handling complaints of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. You have an obligation to put your employer on notice and allow your employer an opportunity to remedy the unlawful conduct.
  • Keep a detailed written record of each incident of harassment and/or discrimination including, but not limited to, what was said or done, the date it occurred, where it occurred, who was present, and your thoughts and feelings during and immediately after the incident.
  • Keep a detailed written record of each incident of retaliation you believe you were subjected to as a result of filing a complaint of harassment or discrimination.
  • Seek advice from professional legal counsel.

Once a complaint for sexual harassment is made, the employer has an affirmative obligation to act. Generally, an employer should immediately investigate or take steps to investigate your complaint. The LAD prohibits retaliation for filing a complaint of sexual harassment and/or discrimination.

Can A Single Incident Constitute Sexual Harassment?

In quid pro quo cases, a single sexual advancement may constitute sexual harassment if the submission to or rejection of the advancement is directly linked to the employment action. Generally, a single act or comment is not enough to constitute hostile work environment sexual harassment. An employee needs to establish severe or pervasive conduct.

When Will An Employer Be Held Liable?

An employer may be held liable for sexual harassment for the actions committed by supervisors, non-supervisory employees, and third parties if the employers knew of or should have known about the conduct and failed to take appropriate remedial action.

What Damages Can You Recover In A Sexual Harassment Case?

In the event you are successful in your action, you may be entitled to recover back pay, front pay, promotion or reinstatement to your position, compensatory damages for physical manifestations of pain and suffering, emotional distress damages; punitive damages; attorneys’ fees, and costs of suit.

The Law Office of Robert A. Tandy, LLC has successfully represented employees who were the victims of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment or sex discrimination, contact Robert A. Tandy, Esq. at (201) 474-7103 for a free initial consultation.

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