New Jersey’s Discrimination Law makes harassment in the workplace based on protected traits unlawful. Protected traits include gender, race, national origin, disability, pregnancy, age, sexual orientation, marital status, and military status.
The most well-known form of harassment under New Jersey’s Discrimination Law is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can take two different forms. The first type of sexual harassment is quid pro quo sexual harassment. Put simply, quid pro quo sexual harassment is where an employer makes sexual favors a term or condition of employment.
The second type of sexual harassment is hostile work environment harassment. This type of sexual harassment can include sexually charged remarks as well as efforts to single out a person based on gender.
To prove that there is a hostile work environment based on discrimination harassment, an employee must show that the conduct was either severe or pervasive. Discrimination harassment based on severity usually involves the use by a supervisor of an explicit racial, homophobic, or other epithet, outrageous sexual conduct or other behavior. There have been cases under discrimination harassment law where the single use of a racist remark in the workplace by a supervisor was found to be severe enough to create a hostile work environment.
Discrimination harassment based on pervasive conduct involves repeated instances of harassment over time. In these types of cases, the Court will examine the conduct of the accused supervisor or co-worker over an extended period of time. Such cases are easier to prove when the harasser makes direct or indirect reference to the protected trait, such as disability, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or military leave.
Sometimes, New Jersey discrimination harassment law requires that an employee report the harassment. For this requirement to be triggered, the employer must have a commitment to anti-discrimination policies. Also, the employee must not be subjected to any adverse action, such as termination, forced resignation, demotion, etc. If a co-worker is accused of harassment, it must also be reported. In other situations under New Jersey discrimination harassment law, the employee is not required to report it. Such an instance is if the employee is fired and had been harassed by a supervisor.
A successful plaintiff can recover lost wages, emotional distress damages, attorneys fees and costs, and punitive damages in a hostile work environment case. Our firm regularly handles discrimination harassment cases and has won such cases through trial. For instance, in the case of Tafur v. Plainfield Board of Education, New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division, Elizabeth, Union County, we asserted a sexual harassment claim and successfully recovered $150,000 for the client, who was a bus driver/custodian.
The Firm also recovered $265,000 for a client who was the subject of sexual orientation harassment in Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey Superior Court. The Firm also recovered $145,000 on behalf of a member of the armed services based on military status harassment in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey Superior Court. The Firms also recovered $225,000 on behalf of a client who was the subject of disability discrimination in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey Superior Court.
If you believe that you have been the subject of discrimination harassment based on gender, race, national origin, disability, pregnancy, age, sexual orientation, marital status, and military status, please contact Ronald J. Wronko, Esq., at (973) 360-1001 for a free telephone consultation.