Harassment Claims

Harassed at your job?
Harassed
at your job?

Federal and state laws have been enacted to protect employees against harassment in the workplace. It is your employers responsibility to ensure that your work environment is free from harassment. While harassment can occur in any workplace, it is illegal in New Jersey and throughout the United States. If you have been harassed at your job by a boss, co-worker, client, or another person you work with, contact the experienced New Jersey Harassment Lawyers at Peterpaul Law, LLP. to discuss your case. We will answer all of your questions, explain your rights, and walk you through the entire process of bringing a harassment claim.

How Harassment Occurs at Work in New Jersey

There are two fundamental types of harassment that are unlawful in the workplace. 

First, “Quid pro quo” harassment occurs when an employee’s agreement or refusal to accept unwanted conduct influences employment decisions. The most common example of quid pro quo harassment is sexual harassment, which encompasses unwelcome words or actions of a sexual nature.

The other form of workplace harassment occurs when an employee who falls within a protected class of people is subjected to offensive conduct based on this classification. Statutory requirements prohibit harassing behavior based on a person’s physical disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and many other personal identifying factors. When offensive conduct directed at one or more of the protected groups outlined in the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is so severe or prevalent that it creates a hostile or abusive work environment, this is considered a justifiable reason for legal action.

Additional Resources on Workplace Harassment:

What do I need to know about Workplace Harassment – US Department of Labor

What is considered Workplace Harassment in NJ?

Harassment includes any conduct that would cause a reasonable person in a protected class to feel demeaned, threatened, or bullied, thus altering the conditions of the work environment. If one or more employees in a legally protected category are subjected to offensive comments or an atmosphere of hostility, this is considered harassment. Unwelcome sexually-charged behavior or discussions is also strictly prohibited by law.
Some of the common scenarios considered workplace harassment include:

  • Sabotaging an employee’s work because of a protected characteristic;
  • Telling offensive jokes about people of a certain sex, race, religion, or those with other protected traits;
  • Using demeaning language, offensive terms, or slang;
  • Commenting on another person’s physical appearance or body parts;
  • Unnecessary touching;
  • Indecent gestures;
  • Displaying racially insensitive, sexually explicit or suggestive imagery;
  • Discussing sexual behavior;
  • Any aggressive physical conduct;

Legal Requirements for NJ Workplace Harassment

The ways in which harassment can occur at work are vast and varied, ranging from physical conduct to excessive swearing or use of crude language. The important thing to keep in mind is that this behavior must be directed at an individual or group of individuals protected under state and federal law to be considered a basis for a legal claim.

Harassment can be committed by any number of potential offenders, including owners, co-workers, supervisors, managers, customers, and anyone else with whom you interact at work. However, the harassing conduct must be unwelcome and based on an employee’s protected classification. Moreover, unlawful harassment must be considered hostile to the person affected; and sufficiently severe or pervasive enough to foster a work environment that a reasonable person would consider abusive or hostile.

When evaluating whether or not harassing behavior is sufficiently severe or pervasive, courts consider how often the behavior occurred, if the conduct involved verbal or physical deeds, whether the behavior could reasonably be detrimental to job performance, the extent to which the conduct affected the person or person’s mental wellbeing, and whether the harasser was in a position of power over the victim.

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Work harassment specialists

Work Harassment Specialists