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.
B.B. was an employee in the human resources department of a New Jersey community college. According to B.B., shortly after the college hired a new executive vice president, who was the college’s second in command and in charge of hiring and termination decisions, problems began.
The VP allegedly asked the woman questions about sex, about her marriage, and about her view of his attractiveness. According to the nj.com report, he allegedly sought to force her to view a digital photo of him in a Speedo swimsuit.
The report also indicated that the VP allegedly tried to meet up with B.B. outside work on her days off, texted her while she was on vacation, and sought to play games like “20 questions” with the woman. B.B.’s complaint stated that she felt compelled to play out of fear that the VP would have her fired if she didn’t.
When B.B. informed the VP that another school had contacted her seeking to interview her, the VP allegedly responded that “I thought you were going to tell me you are secretly in love with me,” according to the report.
Some of the VP’s alleged acts were more severe, such as forcibly trying to kiss her, nj.com reported. After all of these alleged incidents, B.B. sued for sexual harassment in federal court. In addition to suing the VP, she also sued the college.
Earlier this year, the lawsuit came to a conclusion, with the woman successfully securing a settlement in the case. The settlement called for B.B. to receive $145,000.
The Law Says that Severe Harassment Isn’t Always Required
Note that most of this woman’s allegations were not things of the most severe variety. Nevertheless, she succeeded in obtaining a settlement award. In a sexual harassment lawsuit, the harassment need not be severe. The law says that proof of either severe or pervasive harassment is enough.
This woman was able to secure a positive result through a settlement. For others, success may lie in going to trial and obtaining a judgment. Either way, do not allow anyone to mislead you into thinking that, just because your harasser didn’t pin you to a wall and grope you or didn’t expressly say “have sex with me or lose your job” that you cannot achieve a successful outcome in a sexual harassment action.
Instead, reach out to the experienced New Jersey sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates to learn more about the options that are out there to get you the positive result you deserve. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.