Articles Posted in Sexual Harassment

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Many ingredients go into a successful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation case. One of these is having a capable New Jersey employment lawyer who can keep your case on track and moving toward a successful resolution at a timely pace, even when the case, or perhaps even “real life” from outside the case, throws a curveball.

This is so important because allowing such “curveballs” to cause you to miss deadlines or violate rules of procedure can trigger some severe penalties, up to and including dismissal of your case.

S.P. was an example of an employee whose harassment and retaliation case almost got tossed because of problems with pre-trial discovery. S.P., who was a deputy registrar working for a city in North Jersey and also the vice president of the city employees’ “collective negotiations” unit, was fired in 2016 after 15 years of working for the city.

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For a lot of workers who reach the point where it is necessary to file a sexual harassment lawsuit, your employer may try to defeat your case by placing the focus on what you did or did not do, instead of what your harasser did or the company failed to do. Be prepared to fight back and to win your case. An experienced New Jersey employment lawyer can be integral in helping you do exactly that.

R.M. was one of those sexually harassed workers. Not long after she started as a sales trainee at an auto dealership in Pleasantville, a sales manager began sending her text messages stating his attraction to her and asking her to “hang out” privately in the manager’s hotel room. Taking the manager’s texts as an invitation to have sex, the trainee declined.

After the trainee declined a second time – this time in person and at work – the manager allegedly told the trainee to clock out, to leave the dealership “and don’t come back.”

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Once you’ve decided that you need to undertake a sexual harassment lawsuit in New Jersey, there will be many more vital decisions you’ll have to make. Each choice may substantially impact how much compensation you receive or may affect whether or not your case gets to trial. Given the profound importance of these decisions, make sure you have the advice you need from an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer before you make those critical selections.

One of those choices is whether to litigate in state court or federal court. As a sexual harassment plaintiff, you might decide that you’d get a fairer hearing in state court and therefore pursue your case there. Whatever the reason, if you and your legal team have selected state court, there are likely very good reasons for it, so you may need to fight aggressively to keep your case in state court.

Here’s an example of what we mean. J.L., a woman who worked at a fast-food restaurant in Old Bridge, had a male co-worker who allegedly subjected her to multiple forms of harassment, including grabbing her buttocks, putting his hands on her shoulders to pin her down in a chair, and attempting to grab her genital area as he walked past.

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The law in New Jersey is frequently changing. One way changes occur is through case decisions by the Appellate Division court or the New Jersey Supreme Court. Another occurs when the state legislature decides that the law, as currently written, doesn’t reflect what the law should be, and enacts an amendment. These changes, whether via court ruling or legislative action, represent a key reason for having an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer on your side for your discrimination or harassment case. The right attorney can provide you with the benefit of both powerful legal experience and the most up-to-date knowledge of the law.

Back in 2019, one of those very important changes to statutory employment law occurred in New York. In October of that year, a critical amendment to that state’s Human Rights Law went into effect.

New York law, as modified by the 2019 bill, specifically says that “harassment need not be severe or pervasive in order for the employer to be liable.” This is a very substantial change that will make winning harassment cases much easier for harmed workers in New York in the future.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines state that sexual harassment can take many forms. It can be an unwanted sexual advance. It can be a request for sexual favors or punishment for failing to provide those favors. Sexual harassment can be subtle. These subtle forms can be just as harmful as egregious forms to an employee who fears losing her job if she doesn’t “play along.” If you’ve found yourself in that position, don’t suffer in silence. Instead, reach out without delay to contact an experienced New Jersey sexual harassment attorney to learn more about the legal options available to you.

Many people probably call to mind a certain image when they think of sexual harassment. The famous movie Disclosure turns 27 this year. In that film, Michael Douglas’s character is punished at work for rejecting the overt sexual advances of his supervisor (played by Demi Moore.)

As a worker in New Jersey, it is important to recognize that you do not necessarily need to prove something as severe as what happened to that fictional character to have a viable case of sexual harassment in this state. The sexual harassment case of B.B., which was settled recently according to a nj.com report, is a good example.

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With coronavirus numbers surging, Gov. Phil Murphy has stated that a new statewide lockdown is “on the table,” according to news reports. Whether or not the state enters a new lockdown, the state’s skyrocketing COVID-19 cases will likely lead to more and more employers considering remote work for their employees. That, in turn, will likely mean more and more use of technology platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. However, as we’ve seen from recent headlines and news stories, this type of work environment presents its own risks when it comes to discrimination and sexual harassment. If you’ve suffered discrimination or harassment in a virtual meeting, don’t wait… reach out to an experienced New Jersey workplace discrimination attorney today to discuss your legal options.

The use of new technology like Zoom has proven to be fertile ground for both embarrassing blunders and offensive misconduct. These incidents have included a woman who inadvertently broadcast herself on the toilet during a Zoom call; a Brazilian government worker accidentally captured having sex during a Zoom call, and a prominent TV legal analyst who accidentally broadcast his act of self-gratification during an election simulation call with colleagues from the New Yorker.

Some of these stories may yield laughs from readers, but this actually points to a serious issue. Sexual harassment can occur in many ways and isn’t limited to face-to-face encounters. Being involuntarily exposed to unwanted comments, jokes, or material of a sexual nature can also be a form of sexual harassment, even when it happens over Zoom.

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An ancient Chinese proverb says that a “journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This wisdom recognizes that, to accomplish any undertaking, you must first take that initial step (and, implicitly, keep taking each step and clearing each hurdle one at a time) until you reach your destination. Your discrimination or harassment case can be a lot like that. It may seem massive, overwhelming and intimidating at first but, with the aid of a skilled New Jersey employment attorney, you can clear all the hurdles and achieve a positive result… one step at a time.

One of the most important steps in any discrimination case is clearing the hurdle presented by the defense’s motion for summary judgment. If you don’t clear this hurdle, then your case is thrown out without a trial and you recover nothing. Additionally, for workers who are open to settlement, it is often the case that employers’ settlement offers will become much larger and fairer after they’ve lost their motions for summary judgment as compared to before that outcome.

Defeating a defense motion for summary judgment does not require providing the court with as much proof as you’d need to win at trial. For example, look at the recently decided case of N.H., a New Jersey college professor.

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In this blog and elsewhere, you may see phrases like “act today” and “don’t delay” when considering contacting an experienced New Jersey employment attorney if you think you’ve been the victim of workplace discrimination and/or harassment. That’s good advice, because, while there are many reasons people might feel the urge to delay taking action, none of them will help, and none will be any comfort, when a potentially winnable discrimination case gets dismissed because it was filed too late.

Consider the lawsuit filed by S.J., a legal administrative assistant in the Morristown office of a major multi-state law firm, as a cautionary tale. According to the woman, I.S., one of the male attorneys working in the office’s labor and employment department began engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct in 2014, including sexually explicit texts and non-consensual touching of her breasts and genitals.

Allegedly, the assistant complained about the attorney to her office administrator but, rather than take action, the administrator told the assistant “that if she was unhappy…, she should look for another job.” Eventually, the firm fired S.J. in June 2017.

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Without question, progress has been made when it comes to eradicating discrimination and harassment in New Jersey workplaces. Sometimes, though, a case comes along and reminds us all that harassment is far from eliminated… and that serious dangers still exist in some New Jersey workplaces. If you endured harassment on the job, don’t ever be fooled into thinking that it is something you just have to accept and “put up with.” Instead, reach out to an experienced New Jersey employment attorney who can provide you with options to help you protect yourself (and perhaps others in your workplace, too.)

When it comes to reminding everyone that workplace harassment is still a serious problem in this state, a story from a police department in Union County undeniably does just that. As reported by the New York Post and mycentraljersey.com, the work environment at this particular police department was one where calling it “hostile” might be an understatement.

The central harasser, according to the complaint, was an internal affairs officer who frequently wielded an extremely large sex toy at the workplace. Allegedly, the sex toy’s appearance was not just an occasional thing, as one officer was “tortured” with the device “on an almost daily basis.”

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Part of what makes certain types of harassment and discrimination, such as quid pro quo sexual harassment, so insidious is that they often leave the victim with the sense that she is powerless, and that her harasser has all the power. That is doubly true if the harasser is, in fact, a politically or professionally powerful person. Don’t fall into that trap of hopelessness. If you’ve experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment, you are entitled to sue, and you may be entitled to receive significant compensation. Reach out to a skilled New Jersey sexual harassment attorney without fear and without delay to find out what options exist for you.

It’s one thing (and an undoubtedly agonizing thing) when your sexual harasser is some low-level supervisor. Imagine how much more stressful it may be when your harasser is a powerful person like a judge! That was the situation facing C.S., a probation officer, in her discrimination and harassment case.

The alleged harasser was the top trial court judge in the county where C.S. lived. They met at a holiday party and exchanged telephone numbers. According to C.S.’s court papers, she visited the judge’s chambers after hours and, although she didn’t want to, she gave into the judge’s insistence to have sex with him. The judge allegedly called the pair’s sexual interaction a “business relationship.”

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