Search Site
21 Main St, Ste 352 | Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Call For Consultation 551-245-8894

What Is “Unwelcome Conduct” That Can Create a Sexually Hostile Workplace?

A hostile work environment is a type of sexual harassment that occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would find the workplace intolerable. Typically, the unwelcome conduct must be persistent and repeated. However, in New Jersey, a single incident can create a hostile work environment if it is severe enough.

An essential element of hostile workplace sexual harassment is “unwelcome conduct.” Such conduct can come in many forms and be engaged in by many different people within a business. For example, you could be subjected to unlawful behavior by any of the following on the business premises:

  • A co-worker
  • A supervisor (your direct report or someone further up the chain)
  • A vendor
  • A customer

As for what conduct could be considered unwelcome, there are many different possibilities. The following are common examples:

  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Asking inappropriate questions
  • Giving someone an inappropriate or sexually-charged nickname
  • Verbal harassment
  • Unwanted physical touching
  • A co-worker pinning up an offensive photo in their cubicle and not removing it when asked

A single instance of unwelcome conduct can create a hostile workplace if the conduct is severe. A sexual assault in the workplace would certainly qualify. Otherwise, unwelcome conduct must be persistent and repetitive. For example, if a co-worker makes one sexist comment toward you, that comment alone is probably not enough. However, if that person makes such comments on a regular basis over a period of time, then the conduct as a whole may support a hostile work environment legal claim. You should always document instances of unwelcome conduct when they happen to you, so that you have a record of the repeated nature of the actions or comments when you report them.

It is stressful to experience a hostile work environment and it can be equally stressful to summon the courage to report the behavior and assert your legal rights. You are entitled to a working environment that is free from harassment and you can always turn to a lawyer for advice on how to handle the situation.

Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack is devoted to helping employees throughout New Jersey protect themselves from all forms of workplace sexual harassment. If you believe you are working in a hostile environment, call us at 551-245-8894 or contact us online to schedule a meeting to discuss the situation with one of our attorneys.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier practitioners of employment and civil litigation. He has been selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers prestigious list every year since 2005.  This honor, bestowed upon a recipient by the votes of his peers, is a powerful nod to the skill Mr. Atkins brings…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in…

Diane  Englander  Peyser Attorney Photo
Diane Englander Peyser

Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

Reviews and Ratings
  • google

    I don’t usually write many reviews, but in early 2021 I was asked if I wanted to write an update to my initial review talking about my experience as a client, so I said “yeah I want to talk, but for just a minute.” After a long and voluminous l...

    Read more

    Ben R

  • google

    Diane Englander Peyser and Bruce Atkins provided extensive subject matter knowledge and guided us through very complicated legal system; resulting in positive outcome that we could not have achieved on our own. Great office atmosphere with friendly a...

    Read more

    Psiumis J

  • google

    I am extremely satisfied with my experience with Duetsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt law firm. Diane Peyser was always attentive with any questions or concerns I had during my case. I always felt like I was her number one priority when I needed her during t...

    Read more

    megan verrico

  • google

    I am grateful to Bruce and his firm for his professionalism and guidance. His experience and calm demeanor really helped me through a tough case. He settled it very quickly which allowed me to put it behind me and move on. I highly recommend Bruce.

    Read more

    T Cates

  • google

    Having been a litigation attorney myself, I've seen it all from the "inside". I know that far too many lawyers care only about profit and have very little interest in the actual law or their clients. So I was very careful in selecting an attorney t...

    Read more

    D A

See all reviews
Contact us

Quick Contact Form