The recent news from a small Union County borough was genuinely shocking. Several employees of the borough’s police brought a Law Against Discrimination action against the borough, asserting that several fellow employees, including the chief, had engaged in numerous actions that created a hostile work environment. The array of allegations ranged from absurd to dangerous to repugnant. If proven, the allegations would almost certainly amount to a hostile work environment. The allegations are a reminder that a hostile work environment can happen in a variety of settings, and, if it has happened to you, you should reach out to a skilled New Jersey sexual harassment attorney about your situation.
The complaint, filed on May 11 and reported by nj.com a week later, put forward some serious allegations. According to the plaintiffs, the misdeeds included the extensive use of a blue sex toy in various jokes (and associated homophobic comments), the department’s top detective’s penchant for removing all of his clothes and trying to surprise co-workers in the locker room while he was naked, and a grotesque practice involving one officer’s genitals, the food or drink of unsuspecting co-workers, and photographic images of the combination. Furthermore, there was an allegation of an employee asking to sniff a female employee’s chair.
Then there were homophobic, sexist, and racist jokes, according to the complaint. In addition, the plaintiffs had photographic proof of the detective’s use of the sex toy and video of one male employee being harassed with the same toy.
Certainly, with the case filing having taken place only a few weeks ago, the court has made no final rulings, and no decisions declaring liability or assessing damages have been made either. However, the allegations include some very specific details and also are backed up by photographic and video evidence. In many cases, the ability to secure photo or video evidence that bolsters your version of events can be a key piece in putting together a highly persuasive case.
There are many things that can be learned from this alleged harassment. First, actionable harassment does not have to be a person making unwanted advances toward a person of the opposite sex (or the same sex in the case of a homosexual perpetrator). A man’s conduct can amount to the creation of an impermissible hostile work environment even if the alleged victim was also a man and both were heterosexual. All that you need, as an alleged victim of a hostile work environment, is proof that the conduct was sexual, abusive, or offensive in nature, was because of gender, and was sufficiently severe or pervasive that it rendered the conditions of your workplace hostile or abusive.
Unfortunately, even in 2018, there are still instances of incredibly inappropriate conduct, such as sexual comments, taking place in workplaces. If you have been harmed because of the hostile work environment where you were employed, talk to the skilled New Jersey sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have spent many years working to help our clients pursue the outcomes they need through the legal system. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.
More blog posts:
Sexting, Text Message Flirtations, and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, May 16, 2018
How the Hostile Environment at Your Workplace May Entitle You to Compensation in a Sexual Harassment Case in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, March 28, 2018