A great many of our cases involve discrimination and retaliation. We are heavily involved in cases of discrimination based on race, disability, gender, national origin, and ethnicity.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination which is prohibited by federal and state law. This prohibition against workplace harassment includes protecting employees from unwanted sexual advances by those in authority, or quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo is a Latin term which means “this for that” or “something for something.” Thus, in the employment context, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when: (1) submission to harassing sexual conduct is, explicitly or implicitly, made a term or condition of employment or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting that individual1.
Under the first scenario, an employee may perceive that she or he must comply with sexual advances or relations, from her or his superior, as part of her or his job. Under the second scenario, an employer may require an employee to submit to sexual advances in order to receive an employment benefit, such as a promotion or a raise, or to avoid an adverse employment action, such as termination or suspension; a typical way this can occur is for an employee to be terminated or suspended because she or he ends a consensual relationship. Under either scenario, the harassing conduct usually involves unwelcome gestures, looks, comments, or touching of a sexual nature. In addition, the harassing conduct may come not only from a supervisor, but from a co-worker or customer of the employer. It is important to note that this type of sexual harassment can occur between people of the same gender or different genders2.
In order to prove quid pro quo sexual harassment, New Jersey employees need to show that they refused sexual advances or ended a consensual relationship, and that they were then denied positive employment actions, or received negative employment actions.
Once the employee has established these elements, the burden of production shifts to the employer to demonstrate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action. If the employer can do so, then the employee bears the burden of demonstrating that the employer’s stated reason was pretextual and that the employment decision was actually based on sex discrimination. If successful, the employee may recover damages such as back pay, front pay, emotional distress, and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
Do you believe you have been sexually harassed in the workplace? It’s important to act quickly to find out if you may have a claim under federal law or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Since every situation is different, an experienced New Jersey employment attorney can help you fully understand your rights as an employee in New Jersey.
The attorneys at Hyderally & Associates are ready to help you. They have experience working with federal anti-discrimination laws, as well as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, so they can review your situation to provide information that will help you decide if you would like to pursue a claim against your employer. Call an experienced employment attorney in New Jersey at (973) 509-8500.
This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, and may not reasonably be relied upon as such. If you face a legal issue, you should consult a qualified attorney for independent legal advice with regard to your particular set of facts. This article may constitute attorney advertising. This article is not intended to communicate with anyone in a state or other jurisdiction where such an article may fail to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state or jurisdiction.
- 1Lehmann v. Toys ‘R’ Us, Inc., 132 N.J. 587, 601 (1993) (discussing elements for a quid pro quo sex harassment claim).
- 2Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., 523 U.S. 75, 81 (1998) (sexual harassment is not limited to males harassing females).
“I want to sincerely thank you and your staff for your resolve and professional zeal in resolving my issues with [company name removed for privacy reasons]. I especially want to thank Rob Szyba who handled these proceedings with dignity and a great deal of knowledge and professionalism. He knows what buttons to push and when to push them. He is an asset to your organization. I will gladly recommend your services to anyone in need. It was a privilege to deal with you and your team.”
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“Ty is a very knowledgeable Attorney, who has demonstrated a very proven track record in handling Employment cases. His knowledge and assertive approach have made him a very successful Attorney.”
“I actually first worked with Ty at McKenna McIlwain LLP in 2008. Already I was impressed by his professionalism, client list and reputation. In 2011 I moved back to Montclair after a few years back home in Oregon. Ty was in need of a temporary administrative assistant and invited me to join his team at their new, independent location. I learned a great deal working with Hyderally & Associates, P.C. They have earned their reputation as the hardest hitting, best representation available for employment matters in New Jersey and New York alike. They are attentive, fair, and go every extra mile to ensure due diligence. I am proud to have them on my resume and am happy for the experience of being part of such a busy, professional and fast paced team.”
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