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New Jersey woman files federal sexual harassment claim

A New Jersey resident working at an international business consulting firm has filed a federal sexual harassment claim against her employer. The July 23 filing in the Manhattan federal court, alleges that the woman's employer engaged in a series of sexually harassing behaviors which created a hostile work environment over a period of several years.

One of the allegations listed in the lawsuit described in exchange between the plaintiff and the managing director of her job in which he compared the shape of her body to a Coca-Cola bottle. The same defendant allegedly told her "you are Middle-Eastern, but I prefer to call you a Brazilian Queen, so I prevent myself from liking a terrorist."

Another allegation levied against the plaintiff's employer is that he referred to her as an "N-lover", upon discovering that she had a biracial child. The plaintiff says that she began experiencing retaliation at her job after she publicly rebuffed the managing directors sexually charged flirtations at a celebratory birthday lunch he had organized for her 30th birthday. According to the plaintiff, she became ill shortly afterwards and was diagnosed with a blood and heart condition as a result of the confrontation. Sometime later, the plaintiff says her employer moved to reclaim her work laptop and take away portions of her salary.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages the plaintiff is seeking. The defendant's company has issued a statement denying all the allegations in the plaintiff's lawsuit and said that the plaintiff will not receive retaliation during the litigation process.

Sexual harassment can take on many forms in the workplace. Some examples of sexual harassment are unwanted advances or repeated pressures to go out on dates. There may be unwanted touching, ogling or other sexual comments made about specific body parts. An employer may offer a quid pro quo demand for sex. In other words, a promotion or raise in salary may be offered in exchange for a sexual act. All of these activities violate state and federal employment laws. Additionally, an employer may also incur liability for sexual harassment if they are aware of the harassment by another employee yet fail to act to stop it.

Any New Jersey worker who is a victim of sexual harassment should take immediate action. In some cases, testimony from coworkers who may have experienced similar harassment or witnessed episodes of harassment may be required. Specific memories of harassing incidents will naturally degrade over time. That is why it is important to act quickly to preserve that evidence.

Source: New York Post, "Woman sues boss who said her ‘body is like a Coca-Cola bottle’" Rich Calder, Jul. 23, 2014

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