Despite the prohibitions against workplace sexual harassment in New Jersey, it remains to be a prevalent problem. People who are the victims of sexual harassment often feel as if they have no power. When this behavior happens at work, some people are concerned that they may lose their jobs if they complain. In reality, workers who are the victims of sexual harassment can take steps to end it through both informal and formal processes. The legal team at Swartz Swidler is available to guide sexual harassment victims through the process.
In some cases, the people who are responsible for sexual harassment may not understand that others consider their conduct to be offensive. This is especially true in hostile work environment sexual harassment cases. The first step that you should take in this type of case is to confront the perpetrator. Many times, this will be enough to end the harassment. Even if it continues, you will have placed the harasser on notice.
File a complaint with your employer
If confronting the harasser doesn’t put an end to his or her behavior, your next step is to file a formal complaint with your employer. Check with your company for its procedure for filing sexual harassment complaints, and follow it. If there isn’t a procedure in place, complain to your supervisor. If your supervisor is the harasser, complain to his or her supervisor. You should document all incidents of harassment with their dates, times and the names of witnesses. Your complaint should be filed in writing, and you should keep a copy of it as well.
Filing an administrative charge
If your company fails to investigate your complaint, does nothing or retaliates against you, your next step is to file an administrative charge of discrimination. You can file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights within the Office of the Attorney General. If the agency is unable to resolve your charge but determines that it is valid, you will be given a letter notifying you of your right to sue.
If you receive a right to sue letter, you are able to file a lawsuit against your employer in state or federal court. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may assist you with filing the civil complaint in the appropriate court. Through a lawsuit, you may be able to receive the following:
- Reinstatement to your former job
- Back pay
- The value of lost fringe benefits
- Emotional distress damages
- An order for your employer to implement training and policies to end harassment
- Your legal costs and attorney’s fees
If you are the victim of sexual harassment, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler may guide you through the complaint process. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.