Sexual Harassment in New Jersey: When to Lawyer Up
Being stuck in the center of a sexual harassment issue in the workplace is a tough situation, yet so many people still have to deal with it. According to i-Sight, 54% of women have experienced unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. Of this number, 30% said it involved a man at work, and 23% said it involved a supervisor. But the sad truth is that 87 to 94% of sexually harassed individuals do not file a complaint against the responsible parties.
Sexual harassment is a violation of law under the Equal opportunity Act of 2010. But it has to be an unwelcome sexual behavior (written or verbal) that makes you offended, intimidated or humiliated and not a consensual interaction, friendship or flirtation. Any incident of sexual harassment – regardless of how small or large or who is involved – need a quick and appropriate response.
Sexual harassment at work is uncomfortable and can interfere with your ability to perform your task. If you feel that your right to a discrimination-free job has been violated, you may want to consult with an employment lawyer to see what your legal options are.
According to Ravi Sattiraju, employment attorney, top lawyers work with handwriting analysts, investigators and computer experts to recover inappropriate memos, sexually suggestive emails, sexually explicit phone messages, crude pictures and eyewitness testimony to show sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
How a lawyer can help
Even the face of sexual harassment and discrimination, you still may have to take some steps to protect your rights. For instance, the law (as well as your employer’s policy) may need you to report the situation to the management or human resources immediately to hold the other party responsible. A good lawyer will help you determine the right person (in your organization) to whom you should report the case. He or she will also guide you in your description of the harassing act so that you can relay relevant information in a clear and calm way.
- An employment lawyer will help prepare you to report the incident by doing the following:
- Recording the harassment and all aspects surrounding it’ Observing the response of your employer to your complaint to ensure they do no retaliate against you
- Preparing you to deal with the harassing individual in case they carry on with their behavior
- Guiding you on how to report any sexual harassment in the future
A good employment lawyer will be by your side throughout the investigation and ensure that your employer is taking the right steps under the law. He or she will also analyze any retaliation action – like you being excluded from meetings, social outings or events after reporting harassment – and advise accordingly.
Lastly, your employment attorney will inform you of your legal options for challenging harassment. For instance, they may recommend filing a discrimination lawsuit with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or New Jersey’s anti-discrimination agency against your employer. He or she may advise you of the pros and cons of filing the suit so you can make an informed decision.