Every employee feels unhappy at work sometimes. Bosses and coworkers may frustrate and irritate you. However, some workplace behavior crosses the line such as in the case of sexual harassment. If you feel like you have been a victim of sexual harassment, you are not alone. Before taking the necessary steps in handling a sexual harassment situation, it’s important to understand it.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes a wide range of behaviors. It could be unwanted looks, inappropriate comments, and pressure to engage in sexual conduct. The following are three types of sexual harassment situations.
1) Quid pro quo: Conditioning employment or a benefit of employment on agreeing to perform a sexual act or accepting sexual advances. For example, a boss may tell an employee if she wants a raise, she needs to go on a date with him.
2) Hostile work environment: Pattern of workplace behavior that creates an overall environment that is harassing. The behavior must be severe and pervasive, as well as based on an employee’s gender.
3) Third-party harassment: Sexual harassment by a third-party not under the employer’s control. For example, an independent contractor may tell an employee that he will complain about her work unless she goes on a date with him.
What You Should Do If You Believe You’re a Victim
If you believe you’ve been sexually harassed, the first step is to tell your employer about it or follow your workplace’s policy for sexual harassment complaints. Employers have responsibilities regarding sexual harassment. Employers in New Jersey must comply with both New Jersey’s Laws against Discrimination and the Federal anti-discrimination laws. They are expected to have policies that prohibit sexual harassment. There needs to be formal policies with clear avenues for complaints to be made. There should also be anti-harassment training for employees, particularly for supervisors and managers. There should be monitoring procedures in place to ensure that the training is done as expected. An employer’s failure to adhere to these policies will waive certain legal defenses, as in the case of Gaines v. Bellino, 801 A. 2d 322 – NJ: Supreme Court 2002.
Complaints should be handled seriously and quickly. Ignored complaints is a sign you may need to take the next step – contacting an experienced sexual harassment attorney in New Jersey.
Seeking Legal Help for a Sexual Harassment Situation
Sexual harassment can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. At times, you may not know if you really should take action. This is why it’s important to turn to an experienced NJ sexual harassment attorney. A lawyer can help you determine if your situation meets the criteria to file a lawsuit against your employer.
The attorneys at Hyderally & Associates are experienced sexual harassment lawyers in NJ that can talk to you about the specific facts in your case with the kindness and sensitivity you need at this difficult time. Call them now to set up a consultation at 973-509-8501.