An employee who understands workplace rights in New Jersey may be better equipped to confront issues related to sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination. The ability to recognize illegal workplace discrimination and assert legal rights could lead to a solution or prevent a problem from festering.
Federal law defines harassment as severe and pervasive conduct that intimidates or abuses an employee. Someone sexually assaulted at work would have a clear case of a hostile and abusive workplace, but most cases involve ongoing mistreatment inspired by the person’s sex. Conduct, such as offensive jokes, lewd pictures, requests for sex or gender-driven insults, could meet the legal standard of what reasonable people would view as sexual harassment.
A person who needs to report sexual harassment should keep a written log of all incidents. The record should include times, places, what happened and if anyone witnessed it. The written details will accompany any complaint filed with an employer. Sometimes, employers discipline the harasser and relieve the abuse suffered by the victim. In other cases, employers retaliate after a victim reports harassment. They might fire the victim, demote the victim or otherwise exacerbate the hostile workplace. Retaliation for the reporting of illegal conduct also violates the law and could justify a lawsuit.
Someone who wishes to proceed with a complaint or has already suffered retaliation after doing so could seek legal advice. An attorney might determine that the evidence appears to meet the standards for workplace discrimination and harassment. Initially, legal counsel may confront the employer with the information and strive to resolve the matter privately. If this action does not suffice, the lawyer might advance the case to the courtroom in an effort to hold the employer accountable for violating the client’s rights.