Sexual harassment in the workplace is not just demeaning — it is against the law. At Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack, we aggressively pursue relief for New Jersey employees subjected to this kind of mistreatment and work tirelessly to hold wrongdoers accountable. Sexual harassment directly assaults a person’s dignity. Employees may be subjected to a hostile sexually charged work environment, may be pressured into performing sexual acts against their will, or may be punished for refusing to submit to sexual advances. Acts motivated by gender or sex may create unwanted and offensive attention, embarrass employees or make the workplace intolerable.
As one of New Jersey’s largest plaintiff-side employment law firms, we have successfully litigated claims on behalf of personnel at all levels, including executives, directors and officers. We handle sexual harassment suits involving:
We have the knowledge and resources to take on powerful interests during administrative proceedings and in court. Our attorneys have obtained substantial compensation for workers.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment (or “this for that” sexual harassment) occurs when a superior requires a subordinate to submit to unwelcome sexual conduct as a condition of the job, to receive some work benefit, or to avoid some adverse employment action. At Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., our experienced attorneys represent victims of this illegal conduct and help them seek damages for the harm they have suffered. We file appropriate claims against the companies (and sometimes the perpetrators) who might be liable for such actions. If your boss has pressured you for sexual attention on the condition that you’ll receive a benefit — or be denied one if you don’t acquiesce to the demands — we will help you enforce your rights.
Throughout New Jersey, our sexual harassment lawyers litigate all types of quid pro quo claims, including those involving:
If you have been subjected to this sort of treatment, our accomplished discrimination attorneys work diligently to obtain a financial recovery that fully accounts for the harm you have suffered.
It may be more beneficial to pursue a claim under state law, as opposed to federal law. New Jersey offers more protections than federal law in regard to:
For assistance dealing with on-the-job sexual harassment, enlist an employment attorney.
If you are subjected to sexual harassment at work, you can take several steps to bolster your case. Make sure you:
If these actions do not end the problem, contact a New Jersey sexual harassment attorney immediately. We offer guidance to help end the conduct and protect your rights.
Different types of evidence may be used to prove that sexual harassment occurred at work. Third-party witness testimony may be powerful but might not be available. If you can, document the following:
In New Jersey, it is legal to create a recording with the consent of just one party: yourself. If you can safely record audio or video of the harassment, save the recording to a personal phone or computer.
A variety of remedies are available to victims of sexual harassment, such as compensation for economic losses and emotional distress. In cases of extreme misbehavior, punitive damages might be awarded. Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, there are no statutory limits on the amount a plaintiff can recover.
The statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim against a New Jersey employer is two years from the date of harassment. If you were subjected to sexual harassment, contact an attorney promptly to build your case while evidence is fresh.
Headlines demonstrate that sexual harassment continues to be rampant and is a serious problem to employees. In addition to federal laws, New Jersey and New York State and City have laws that prohibit harassment based upon sex or gender. These laws require that employers have effective policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment and that employers do something to stop it when they become aware that sexual harassment may be occurring.
At Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., our attorneys understand that you may have questions about the law, and we are happy to answer them. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about sexual harassment in the workplace that we are asked by our clients:
A: Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as unwanted sexual advances or behavior by an employee’s supervisors and/or co-workers. There are two types. The first is called quid pro quo (a fancy lawyer term / Latin meaning “this for that”). Quid pro quo sexual harassment is most commonly a request for sexual favors coupled with a tangible job action — or a promise or threat of one — to reward acquiescence or punish resistance to the request (e.g., sleep with me and you get/keep the job). It can also occur if adverse employment actions result from the termination of a consensual sexual relationship with a supervisor. The second is hostile work environment harassment. Hostile work environment sexual harassment is unwelcome physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with work or alters the terms and conditions of employment.
Q: Who can be a sexual harassment victim?
A: All employees, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, are protected by state and federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment. A hostile work environment can be the basis of a sexual harassment suit by any employee, regardless of which gender is the overt target of the conduct. A man can sexually harass another man. A woman can sexually harass a man. The claim is not just limited to heterosexual harassment of a woman by a man (although that tends to be the most common form). What matters is that the unwelcome conduct is motivated by sex or gender.
Q: What is the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and who enforces it?
A: The LAD is a broad and remedial New Jersey law that protects employees from various types of discrimination, including sexual harassment. Claims under the LAD can be advanced directly in court (through a lawsuit) or with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (DCR), a state agency that reviews complaints and takes administrative or legal action where it finds LAD violations. New York has similar proceedings under its State and City Human Rights laws.
Q: What is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?
A: The EEOC is the federal agency that investigates and prosecutes complaints for violation of federal laws that prohibit discrimination against a job applicant or employee, including sexual harassment. Employees seeking to sue under federal law must first file their complaint with the EEOC (this is different from New Jersey Law, which permits the employee to elect to sue in court, right away).
Q: Is there a time limit for filing a sexual harassment claim?
A: Yes. Under the New Jersey LAD, there is a two-year statute of limitations. Different (shorter) time periods apply if the employee elects to file the complaint with a government agency (the EEOC or DCR).
Q: Can I file a claim with both the NJ Division of Civil Rights and the EEOC?
A: A person alleging sexual harassment has the right to file complaints with the EEOC and the DCR, who have a shared arrangement for enforcing laws. However, dual filing is unnecessary because the two agencies have a work-sharing arrangement. It is very important that you speak with an attorney about which law is at play (federal, state, or both) and what venue you should pursue your claim in — BEFORE you file a claim with an administrative agency.
Q: Can I get fired for reporting sexual harassment?
A: Employers may try to mask or conceal the retaliatory motive by fabricating other reasons for the adverse employment action. It is unlawful to fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee for internally reporting sexual harassment. The same laws that make sexual harassment illegal make such unlawful retaliation illegal. If you have been subjected to adverse treatment (discharge, demotion, or harassment for complaining) after lodging a complaint, you may have a claim under federal or state law. It is important to know your rights if you are experiencing retaliation and you should immediately seek to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.
The attorneys of Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack represent New Jersey claimants in sexual harassment cases and other employment matters. To schedule a consultation with a committed sexual harassment attorney, call 551-245-8894 or contact us online.
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 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 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 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 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…