Employment Lawyers Fighting for Workers’ Rights in New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Throughout the United States

Sexual Harassment FAQ

When Does Sexual Harassment at Work Become a Crime?

Some forms of sexual harassment are obviously criminal in nature such as a sexual assault at work. Others are not as clear such as verbal sexual harassment. The local criminal laws in your jurisdiction will control whether such conduct is also a crime. Here are several examples of state law that might make workplace sexual harassment criminal in nature:
  • Assault
  • Menacing
  • Stalking
  • Unlawful imprisonment

To learn more click here.

What Is Third-Party Sexual Harassment?

Third-party sexual harassment occurs when a non-employee harasses a worker. Typically, this type of sexual harassment is perpetrated by customers, vendors, or clients who come to the worksite and interact with employees. They might also be contractors or employees of different companies or independent contractors who are performing work for the company.

To form the basis of a sexual harassment claim, third-party sexual harassment must be pervasive and severe enough to create a hostile work environment. Single instances will not be likely to be enough to constitute unlawful behavior. For example, if a vendor asks a receptionist for a date, that would not qualify as sexual harassment. However, if the vendor repeatedly asks the receptionist out and makes suggestive comments every time that he or she enters the workplace, that might qualify as illegal third-party sexual harassment.

Click here to learn more.

What Are the Two Types of Sexual Harassment?

Two types of sexual harassment are recognized under federal law and under the state laws of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When these forms of harassment happen in the workplace, they are illegal. Workers who have been the victims of either type of prohibited sexual harassment may recover damages for their losses, and the attorneys at Swartz Swidler might be able to help.


Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens in situations in which an employee’s ability to be hired or promoted within his or her job is based on whether or not the employee accepts or rejects sexual advances or other inappropriate sexual conduct.


Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

Harassment can also happen when the victim’s job is not conditioned on his or her acceptance or rejection of it. Hostile environment sexual harassment happens when a victim’s co-worker or supervisor makes comments or sexual advances that make the work environment offensive and hostile in nature. This type of conduct normally has a negative impact on the employee’s ability to do his or her job. Examples of this type of sexual harassment might include the following:

  • Asking questions about the victim’s sex life
  • Telling vulgar jokes
  • Sexual or degrading physical conduct
  • Displays of sexually explicit material

Click here to learn more.

What’s The Burden of Proof For Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Many people have a difficult time understanding why proving a sexual harassment case in court can be hard. Part of the problem is that people confuse the common definition of sexual harassment with the legal one. Sexual harassment that happens on the street such as catcalling is not prohibited, but sexual harassment that happens in the workplace is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is also a high burden of proof that plaintiffs have to meet to prevail in their sexual harassment claims. Victims of workplace sexual harassment might want to discuss their cases with the experienced team at Swartz Swidler to learn whether or not they have sufficient grounds to file sexual harassment claims.

Workplace harassment may take one of two forms, including quid pro quo or hostile work environment harassment. Harassment that is quid pro quo means that a person in a position of authority such as a supervisor or hiring manager requests sexual favors in exchange for a work benefit. It can also include situations in which a supervisor demands sexual acts in exchange for the worker not suffering a negative job action. This type of harassment is prohibited even if the employee participates in the sexual activity if the initial conduct was not welcome.

Sexual harassment at work

Harassment that creates a work environment that is hostile happens when there is misconduct that is pervasive enough that it impacts your ability to do your job. This type of harassment can include repeated offensive jokes, inappropriate touching, pornographic displays, unwelcome sexual advances or other conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome. It is generally not enough for a single episode to have occurred.

Click here to learn more.


What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

In Latin, quid pro quo means something for something. This term is used in employment discrimination law to describe a form of sexual harassment in which employment decisions are based on whether an employee submits to conduct that is sexual in nature. If you have been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment at your job, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler might be able to help you.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment claims

Sexual harassment is a type of illegal gender discrimination and is prohibited under both state and federal law. Sexual harassment claims may be divided into two primary categories, including hostile work environment claims and quid pro quo claims.

Quid pro quo claims involve people who are in positions of authority who subject workers to unwelcome sexual conduct and who condition the employees’ acceptance of the conduct on an employment action. For example, if a supervisor promises a promotion in exchange for a promotion, the conduct is quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo harassment can also happen when a supervisor threatens to terminate an employee unless the employee submits to sexual conduct.

Click here to learn more.

What To Expect After Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an illegal form of discrimination. Unfortunately, however, many people are the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, and some people are scared to file complaints with their companies when it occurs. To put an end to sexual harassment in your workplace, you will need to file an internal report with your company and follow its policy for reporting harassment in the workplaceEmployers are prohibited from retaliating against workers for complaining about sexual harassment. Here is what you might expect to happen after you file your complaint from the attorneys at Swartz Swidler.

Responsibilities of employers

The first step to end sexual harassment in the workplace is to file a complaint. Once this happens, your employer will have the responsibility to investigate what happened and to take corrective action to prevent it from occurring again. If your employer does not meet its responsibilities, filing a complaint with the EEOC might be necessary. While the policies of employers might vary, there are some general things you should expect to happen after you file an internal report that you have been the victim of sexual harassment.

Click here to learn more.

Schedule an appointment today. Call (856) 685-7420 or

Schedule an appointment today.
Call (856) 685-7420 or

How To Prove Harassment At Your Job

If you are facing harassment at work, there are certain steps that you should take. These steps will help you in proving your case later on down the road, or even better, may stop the harassment altogether.

Step 1: Talk to the offender

Step 2: File a complaint with your company

Step 3: Get legal help

Click here for more information.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Sexual Harassment Claims?

In order to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you must first file a written complaint with your company, according to its internal procedures. If your employer fails to act on your complaint, you have the right to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The agency requires that you file your complaint within 180 days of the last incident of sexual harassment, so it is important for you to act promptly when you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment.

Timeline for Filing a Lawsuit in Pennsylvania State Court

Pennsylvania’s law extends the time period under which you may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to 300 days after the last date that you were sexually harassed at your job. If your employer violated the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, your attorney may opt to file your claim for harassment under Pennsylvania’s state law if you missed the deadlines under the EEOC.

Timeline for Filing a Lawsuit in New Jersey State Court

In New Jersey, you must file a sex discrimination or retaliation claim within two years of the date of the last incident. If your sexual harassment created a hostile work environment because of its ongoing and continuous nature, you must file your complaint within two years of the date of the last incident. However, you will be able to sue for the entire period of harassment if the court finds a continuing violation because of a series of documented violations.

Click here to learn more.

What Are The Penalties for Sexual Harassment?

When sexual harassment happens in the workplace, the employers may be liable for the harms caused to the victims rather than the perpetrators. When employers are found to have failed to stop harassment that is occurring or to take steps to prevent it, they may face penalties that are imposed by the courts. In many cases, the harassers will not be legally liable to pay damages, but they may face consequences that are imposed by their employers.


Employee penalties for sexual harassment

Under federal and state law, employers must take action to stop or prevent sexual harassment. If an employee is found during an investigation to have committed sexual harassment, the employer may institute discipline against the employee. In most cases, the punishment will be proportionate to the seriousness of the conduct. Potential job penalties against a sexual harasser might include the following:

  • Reprimands or warnings
  • Mandatory training and counseling
  • Transfers or demotions
  • Reductions in salary
  • Suspensions or terminations

What to do

If you have been the victim of a sexual harasser at your job, you should promptly complain to your company according to its sexual harassment complaint procedure. If the company fails to act, contact Swartz Swidler for further help with your case.

Click here to learn more.

How Many Sexual Harassment Cases Are Filed Each Year?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. employers were forced to pay $68.2 million to resolve sexual harassment claims during the fiscal year 2019. This amount was more than $10 million higher than the previous record and demonstrates that sexual harassment continues to be a real problem in workplaces across the nation. The EEOC’s annual data summary also revealed other interesting statistics about sexual harassment claims filed during the year. Here are some highlights from the sexual harassment lawyers in NJ at Swartz Swidler.

Number of new sexual harassment claims filed

Sexual harassment claims filed in 2019 fell slightly to 7,514, which was down from 7,609 cases that were filed in 2018. However, this was still the second-highest number of claims filed during the past seven years. Overall, sexual harassment charges represented 10.3% of all of the charges that were received by the EEOC.

The percentage of sexual harassment charges filed by men increased from 2018 to 2019. During the fiscal year 2019, men filed 16.8% of the sexual harassment complaints as compared to 15.9% filed in 2018. This might demonstrate an increased awareness that men can also be the victims of sexual harassment.

Retaliation continues to be a problem

The most common type of claim filed against employers with the EEOC involved retaliation in 2019. While it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for exercising their rights to file discrimination and harassment complaints, some employers still engage in retaliatory actions. In 2019, 39,110 retaliation claims were filed, representing 53.8% of the total cases that were filed with the EEOC. This statistic demonstrates the importance of having good training programs and strong human resources policies to prevent retaliation against employees.

Click here to learn more.

Can Men Be Sexually Harassed?

While most people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania think that only women are the victims of sexual harassment, men can also be victims. Sexual harassment is prohibited at workplaces across the U.S. under state and federal laws. Regardless of whether the victims are men or women, they have the right to work in environments that are free of such behavior. People who are the victims of workplace sexual harassment might want to talk about what has happened to them with the experienced lawyers at Swartz Swidler.

Can men be victims?

While most victims of workplace sexual harassment are women, an increasing number of men have been reporting that they have also been victims. In 2015, the EEOC reports that it received a total of 6,682 charges of sexual harassment, and 17 percent of them were filed by men.

What to do if you have been the victim of sexual harassment

Regardless of your gender, you have the right to work in an environment that is devoid of sexual harassment. If you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, you should start by confronting your harasser and telling them to stop.

Click here to learn more.





What Should Employees Do If They Feel Sexually Harassed?

Sexual harassment affects millions of workers in the U.S. While sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, it continues to happen. Sexual harassment claims are difficult to prove, and many victims are afraid to report what is happening to them out of fear of retaliation. Both men and women can be victims of workplace sexual harassment. If someone is engaging in sexually harassing conduct at your work, here are eight things that you can do to try to remedy the situation.


1. Document comments and differential treatment.

Whether you are suffering from ongoing sexual harassment or quid pro quo harassment, you should document everything. Sexual harassment can take two forms, including hostile work environment harassment and quid pro quo harassment.

2. Document quid pro quo harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority at your job conditions a job benefit or an adverse job action on your agreeing to engage in sexual activity.

3. Keep your documentation somewhere safe.

As you create documentation of the sexually harassing incidents that happen at your job, you should be careful with where you store them. They should not be kept in your desk at work, on your work computer, or anywhere else where your employer might discover and take them.

Click here to learn more.


What Counts as Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited under federal and state law. However, this type of conduct in the workplace is a prevalent problem. According to a study conducted by the EEOC in 2016, approximately 75% of people who experience workplace harassment do not tell their supervisors or employers.


How is sexual harassment defined?

Sexual harassment includes many different types of behaviors, including unwelcome advances, unwanted touching, obscene jokes or comments, offers of benefits in exchange for sexual acts, or threats of adverse consequences for refusing advances. It can include both physical and verbal conduct. The conduct must be severe or pervasive to qualify as sexual harassment. Single incidents that are serious, including sexual assault, can meet the qualification as sexual harassment. Pervasive conduct can be more subtle. However, if it is frequent and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment, it might be illegal sexual harassment.

Click here to learn more.

What is the Difference Between Harassment and Discrimination?

Employers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are not allowed to hold certain characteristics against their employees. These protected traits include national origin, race, religion, color, marital status, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age or military status. Both discrimination and harassment protections are available for all of these categories in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, the discrimination and harassment laws are found in the Law Against Discrimination. In Pennsylvania, they are found in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.


What is the difference between harassment and discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when an employer treats members of certain classes unfairly because of their memberships in those groups or their protected characteristics. Harassment involves acts that are targeted towards one person. For instance, if a woman does not get a raise because she is a woman it is discrimination. If the woman is called derogatory names because she is a woman, it is instead harassment.

In harassment cases, the harasser may be held personally liable and may be sued whether or not the employer knew or should have known that the harassment was happening. In discrimination cases, by contracts, only the employer may be held liable because of the harm that occurs stems from the employer.

Click here to learn more.

Can Sexual Harassment Occur between Members of the Same Sex?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes sexual harassment illegal if it based on the gender of the victim. This harassment does not need to be sexual in nature to be prohibited. While the law makes assumptions that harassers will only target people of one sex, it can still exist in cases when the harasser is straight and is of the same sex as the victim if it is motivated because of the victim’s sex. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may be able to help you if you have been the victim of same-sex harassment at your job.


When sexual harassment can occur without a sexual motive

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex harassment that is not sexually motivated can exist when either of the following occurs:

  • A woman is harassed by another woman in the workplace in a sex-specific and derogatory manner to the extent that it is clear that the harasser has a general hostility to other females in the workplace; or
  • The victim has direct evidence to compare how the harasser treats both sexes and is able to show that the harasser treats members of his or her own sex in a discriminatory way.

In addition to proving that you have been the victim of same-sex harassment, you will also have to show that the harasser’s conduct was not just slightly tinged with offensive implications about your gender and that the conduct would not have happened if you were a member of the opposite sex.

Click here to learn more.

What Are the Most Common Types of Harassment in the Workplace?

Workplace harassment is a pervasive problem in workplaces in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and throughout the U.S. Some types of workplace harassment are illegal. You should recognize the different forms of workplace harassment and know the unlawful types. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler might help if you have been the victim of illegal harassment at your job. Here are the most common types of harassment in the workplace and the steps that you can take when you are being harassed.
  • Discriminatory harassment
  • Harassment based on race
  • Harassment based on gender
  • Harassment based on religion
  • Harassment based on disability
  • Harassment based on sexual orientation
  • Age-related harassment
  • Personal harassment
  • Physical harassment
  • Power harassment
  • Psychological harassment
  • Online harassment
  • Retaliation harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment
  • Harassment by third parties
  • Verbal harassment

If you are being harassed at work, confront the harasser. In some cases, this may be enough to stop the behavior. If that does not work, file a complaint using your company’s internal complaints process. Click here to learn more.

What Is The Difference Between Sexual Harassment And Sexual Assault?

Sexual harassment may be illegal in the context of your employment while not necessarily being illegal under the criminal law. You may be able to seek remedies for prohibited sexual harassment under the state or federal civil rights laws.

Sexual assault is considered to be a criminal offense that is committed against another person regardless of their employment. However, sexual assault may also happen in the workplace. It is possible that some victims may be subjected to conduct that constitutes both prohibited sexual harassment and criminal sexual assault at their jobs.

What Are Some Of the Consequences For Sexual Harassment In The Workplace?

Potential consequences for people who sexually harass co-workers

Sexual harassment at work is prohibited as a type of gender discrimination under both the anti-discrimination laws of New Jersey and of the federal government. If sexual harassment is reported, the harasser can suffer a number of consequences such as being reprimanded, demoted, or fired. If the harasser’s actions were serious enough to constitute sexual assault, the harasser may also be criminally prosecuted.

Potential consequences for employers

Employers that receive reports of sexual harassment and that fail to take appropriate action or that ignore the complaints may also face consequences. Workplace sexual harassment victims may file sexual harassment and discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

If the sexual harassment charge is found to be valid, an issue might be ordered that requires the employer to make a policy change and to pay damages. A civil lawsuit might also be filed through which the employer may be forced to pay substantial monetary damages. Finally, media coverage of the sexual harassment claim could lead to reputational harm for the company.

Consequences that the victims might face

When victims of sexual harassment report what happened to them, they may face consequences despite the fact that retaliation is illegal. These consequences might include the following:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Reduction in pay
  • Loss of benefits
  • Denial of a promotion
  • Constructive discharge

Click here to learn more.

Most Frequently Asked Question: Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is to contact one of our attorneys. For more information check out the FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page

Most Frequently Asked Question:
Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is contact one of our attorneys. For more information on a just a few scenarios checkout the flip box FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page.

A 2017 ABC News – Washington Post Poll Found that 54% of American Women have experienced some sort of sexual harassment at some point in their lives.

6 Steps To Take If You Are Being Harassed in the Workplace

  1. Document any comments or different treatment experienced.
  2. Keep your documentation in a safe place.
  3. Gather all inappropriate texts, email, notes, or other evidence.
  4. Report the harassment at work in writing.
  5. File a complaint with the EEOC.
  6. Contact Swartz – Swidler for legal assistance with your claim.

If you or someone you know has experienced harassment in the workplace. Help can be just a phone call away.

Our Locations

Haddonfield Headquarters

9 Tanner Street, Ste. 101
Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733

Our Locations

Haddonfield Headquarters

9 Tanner Street, Ste. 101
Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417


Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733