The workplace is where people are supposed to be professional. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Sexual harassment and assault can happen on the job and can be a huge problem for victims who are forced to endure it.
The employment attorneys at Kim & Feliz, LLC can advocate on your behalf in these tense situations, protect your rights and interests, and ensure you get the protection you need.
Behaviors that Can Amount to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The types of behavior that can amount to sexual harassment in the workplace have become magnified. There are legal protections for people at the workplace that are meant to prevent certain behaviors from happening and to compensate victims if they do.
These kinds of behavior are sexually inappropriate in the workplace and can amount to harassment. Examples include:
- Sexist remarks or jokes
- Comments that are demeaning of other genders or sexual orientations
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors, especially in return for workplace benefits like a raise, time off, or a promotion
- Unwanted physical contact, touching, or harassment.
Sexual harassment is contextual in nature, making it extremely fact-intensive. Therefore, some very strong allegations of sexual harassment can include some of the above behaviors or be made up of entirely different types.
Initiating Claims of Sexual Harassment or Assault in the Workplace
No one should be subject to sexual harassment or sexual assault while on the job, and the law in New Jersey understands this. That is why there are numerous state and federal laws that give you legal options if you are ever subjected to these kinds of behaviors. They also protect you from retaliation for exercising these rights, giving you even more options if you try to enforce your rights and then face adverse employment actions for taking a stand.
Initiating a claim to protect your rights to a safe and conducive working environment often begin with telling the perpetrator that he or she is harassing you and it must stop. While many victims find this step extremely awkward and often useless, it can be important for your claim to be able to prove that you notified the perpetrator about the true nature of their actions and that those actions were neither invited nor accepted by you. That way, the perpetrator cannot claim ignorance at a future date when confronted with your allegations.
If confronting your harasser does not end the ordeal, find the company policy for reporting the issue. This policy is often laid out in an employment manual that you likely received when you first started working. Following this policy to the letter can help your claim in the future, so going through the steps it provides is beneficial, even if you know or believe it will not do anything to help.
If your employer or supervisor fails to rectify the problem, or if the employer or supervisor retaliates against you, your next step is to file a claim with the Office of the Attorney General in New Jersey. Before filing, you should contact an employment attorney who specializes in these matters to be sure your filing is complete.
In many cases, your claim will be pushed into arbitration or mediation. There, a neutral third party will try to help create a resolution that both you and your employer can work with. If this proves fruitless, your case could go to trial.
When sexual harassment or assault cases go to trial, you may be able to hold your employer liable for its inaction or retaliatory actions that led to the harassment. If they were notified of your harasser's tendencies but did nothing to prevent it from happening again, your employer could be held liable for not preventing the harassment and for failing to protect your rights in the workplace.
Workplace Harassment Attorneys in New Jersey
The employment attorneys at Kim & Feliz, LLC fight for the rights of workers in New Jersey. By advocating on your behalf both inside the courtroom and outside of it, our lawyers can ensure that you get the protection you need and deserve if you have been harassed or assaulted in the workplace.