Articles Posted in Sexual Harassment

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woman walkingAn important New Jersey sexual harassment ruling from the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals is useful for employees who may have been victims of sexual harassment at work. The new ruling highlights who can qualify as a “supervisor” for the purposes of triggering employer liability in a sexual harassment case. The new ruling concluded that a foreman who handed out work assignments did qualify, and the woman he allegedly harassed was entitled to pursue her case.

The case involved Michelle, who, in 2011, obtained work as a substitute custodian with the Atlantic City schools. That meant that Michelle performed work on a “fill-in” basis but was not guaranteed a certain amount of work, or any assignments at all. Interested in increasing her volume of work, Michelle introduced herself to several custodial foremen. One foreman allegedly engaged in multiple acts of harassment. There was unwanted groping, invitations to the foreman’s office where the foreman was sitting unclothed, and promises of favorable work assignments in exchange for sex, according to the woman.

Allegedly fearing that her job was in jeopardy, Michelle had sex with the foreman once, but she consistently rejected his advances after that. Following her rejection of the foreman, the custodian believed that the foreman began treating her differently. She notified Human Resources, which investigated and concluded that the custodian did not suffer from sexual harassment or discrimination.

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GavelSometimes, when an employee is a victim of sexual harassment, the employer may respond quickly and appropriately, following well-established procedures and policies that it created in advance. Many other times, though, that’s not the case, and that latter scenario is something that may give rise to a sexual harassment lawsuit. Your New Jersey sexual harassment attorney can help you analyze your case and decide what a good manner to proceed may be.

One case recently decided by the Appellate Division involved an employee working for a chain of convenience and food stores. When the employee started in 1999, the employer gave her a copy of its employment handbook, which included the business’ anti-sexual harassment policies. At an awards dinner in 2010, one of the company’s loss prevention employees allegedly sexually harassed the woman repeatedly.

The woman reported the harassment on a survey related to the dinner. The employer investigated and reprimanded the loss prevention employee, including a formal written admonishment, mandatory attendance at a sexual harassment training session, and prohibition from future contact with the alleged victim.

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