What are the harassment laws in New Jersey? How a New Jersey employment attorney can protect your legal rights.
The New Jersey Law against discrimination was enacted to eradicate discrimination in the public in the workplace. A harassment and discrimination New Jersey employment law firm focuses on harassment in the workplace and does not deal with harassment that occurs in the public. It is much more difficult to have a successful lawsuit or claim for harassment that is done outside of the workplace based on various free speech and other issues. It is recommended that you contact a criminal attorney or family attorney to discuss harassment that does not occur in the workplace as they are more likely in a better position to advise you on whether the harassment in public is illegal. However, if the harassment does occur in the workplace than an employment attorney would be the proper person to discuss your potential claim for workplace harassment. The federal government also protects harassment in the workplace through title seven. The state of New Jersey’s law against discrimination is more favorable than title VII and we typically recommend that an individual proceed under the New Jersey law against termination for any type of harassment claim. The New Jersey Law against discrimination will allow you to recover damages for any lost future and back wages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees and costs. Emotional distress damages are either obtained through testimony from a treating physician or an expert psychiatrist or psychologist. However, a jury can award emotional distress damages without a physician testifying based on your testimony and how it affected you. Punitive damages are to punish the company and prevent this type of conduct from occurring in the future.
It is against the law in the state of New Jersey for coworkers, supervisors or owners of the company to harass an employee based on a protected characteristic. The New Jersey Law against discrimination prevents harassment based on protected characteristics. The protected characteristics include, but are not limited to, race, gender, national origin, creed, color, disability, sexual orientation, received sexual orientation, marital status, military status and others. The harassment law only protects harassment that falls into one of these categories. In order to have a viable claim of harassment, you would need to demonstrate that the harassment is occurring based on one of these protected characteristics. The common way to demonstrate that is by showing that the comments being made are overtly discriminatory. For example if they are racist statements or misogynistic statements being made by the coworker, supervisor or owner. In addition to demonstrating that the harassment was based on a protected characteristic, it must be shown that the harassing conduct was either severe or pervasive. In order for the harassing conduct to be severe, would be to show that the statements were very harsh and extremely offensive. In order to meet the pervasive standard, they would need to show that the statements were made frequently over a significant amount of time to meet the pervasive requirement.
If you are able to meet both the protected characteristic and severe or pervasive requirements, you may have a viable claim for harassment in the workplace in violation of the New Jersey Law against discrimination. You may be entitled to recover compensatory damages for any lost wages, emotional distress damages that you suffered. You can also recover punitive damages against the company or individuals to punish them to make sure that this type of conduct is not tolerated and does not occur again in the workplace. Contact our qualified New Jersey Employment Attorneys to get immediate help and a free case evaluation.