Confronting Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination and can arise between an employee and an employer, supervisor, co-worker or client. In New Jersey and elsewhere it is legally defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment. The conduct must be unwelcome and severe or pervasive.

Federal and state law makes employers responsible for preventing and stopping sexual harassment of employees. Furthermore, retaliating against someone for complaining about sexual harassment is illegal.

What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like?

Harassing an applicant or employee because of that person's sex is illegal. While the law does not ban cavalier remarks or simple joking, any harassment that is recurrent or so callous that it creates an offensive working environment is illegal. Therefore, while one sexual innuendo made by an employer might not necessarily be considered sexual harassment, relentless remarks or one severe incident very well may be. More specifically, when sex is made a condition of keeping, losing or succeeding at one's job, it is known as "quid pro quo" sexual harassment.

Harassment may be verbal, physical, visual, or written, and may include:

  • Unwanted advances or pressure for dates
  • Unnecessary touching
  • Impeding movements
  • Derogatory comments
  • Quid pro quo demands for sex
  • Touching, ogling or sexual comments
  • Male/female, female/male or same-sex harassment
  • Sexually explicit or suggestive references or jokes
  • Obscene gestures, notes or pictures
  • Harassment by email or text messaging
  • Making insulting statements about a person's sex, in general

Our sexual harassment lawyers at Piro Zinna Cifelli Paris & Genitempo LLC have extensive experience representing employees and employers alike, including corporations and municipal entities, in disputes involving employment law and claims of sexual harassment.

Do You Have A Case?

As your attorneys, we will provide an honest evaluation of your case, reviewing the facts and circumstances to determine whether you have a cause of action or if we can build a defense against a claim. These cases are highly personal and complex, requiring an attorney with requisite experience and in-depth knowledge of state and federal employment laws.

If you feel that you are a victim of sexual harassment, or fear losing your job for reporting a hostile work environment, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and will work to protect your rights, and achieve results with minimal professional and personal impact to you.

If You Are Still Employed

We can help you follow appropriate protocol and collect necessary documentation as you report offensive behavior to ownership or human resources. We will advise you on the strength of your claim and determine whether you have the right to sue. Following your wishes and direction, we will work toward a negotiated settlement for compensation or take your case through litigation if necessary.

Call To Discuss Your Case

If you believe you may be a victim of sexual harassment, talk to us about the possibility of filing a lawsuit to reap damages. Contact Alan Genitempo to discuss your case at 973-542-2766. You can also contact us online.