Reporting Workplace Sexual Harassment: What You Should Know as a Victim

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Sexual Harassment

Employees in New Jersey deserve to work in a safe and respectful environment where harassment does not happen. Sadly, some employers don’t uphold such basic provisions nor address workplace harassment and discrimination. If you think you experience sexual harassment at work, you may want to seek legal advice about recovering damages.  Sometimes, it’s not easy to report sexual harassment and you may not want to come forward because of fear of retaliation. However, you have the right to be heard and seek the compensation you deserve. The following is a guide when reporting workplace sexual harassment:

Legal Framework to Protect Employees Against Sexual Harassment

In New Jersey, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination has been enacted to fight sexual harassment in the workplace. This law is the main legal framework that prohibits discrimination such as sexual harassment in employment, public accommodations, and housing. No matter the size of a company, it should abide by this law. Under this law, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors that adversely impact the employment of a person. 

Identifying Sexual Harassment at Work

Workers can sue for sexual harassment in the workplace. First, the harassing behavior must be identified and reported. Not all forms of sexual harassment are literally sexual or motivated by a person’s sexual desire. You can experience sexual harassment if you have been discriminated against due to your gender. The harassment can be verbal, visual, or physical and create a hostile work environment. Also, unlawful harassment includes hostile conduct based on your gender identity or sexual orientation. No matter the form of harassment you have been subjected to at work, you must report it. 

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Reporting the Harassment

Speaking up about the sexual harassment you experience at work can be intimidating. But you need to report this behavior to HR or a supervisor. If it can be proven that your employer was aware of the harassing conduct of an employer, but failed to take action, they can be held liable. But if even they did not know about the harassment, you can still bring a claim against your harasser. The company must have policies in place for reporting and investigating sexual harassment allegations. 

In addition, employers should conduct timely, unbiased, and thorough investigations into complaints. If investigations substantiate a sexual harassment allegation, the employee must take appropriate action. Also, employers are not allowed by law to retaliate against a worker for reporting workplace sexual harassment or taking part in relevant investigations. Retaliation includes actions like harassment, demotion, or termination

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