Harassment in New Jersey Employment Law
Since the “me too” movement, most people have become aware, if they weren’t already, that harassing an employee because of gender – sexual harassment – is illegal. However, sexual harassment is not the only type of harassment that is illegal. Federal and New Jersey employment law also prohibits harassment based on prohibited discrimination (including sexual harassment, but well beyond that too) or illegal retaliation.
Case law defines illegal harassment as that which is severe or pervasive enough to cause an employee’s terms and conditions of employment to be changed so that it creates a hostile work environment. Indeed, New Jersey’s Supreme Court has held that under the New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination even a single word, if the word and circumstances are severe enough, can create a hostile work environment.
Sexual harassment is a form of illegal, prohibited discrimination. Sexual harassment is harassment because of an employee’s gender. Sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment, such as by sexual jokes, sexual propositions or innuendo, subjecting an employee to pornography, or a myriad of other circumstances. Sexual harassment can also take the form of “quid pro quo” harassment, such as a supervisor requiting an employee to have sex in exchange for a raise or promotion. Sexual harassment is prohibited both by New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act. For a more detailed description of the legal prohibitions against sexual harassment and our attorneys fight against it, click here.
Racial harassment is a form of racial discrimination. New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and Title VII both prohibit discrimination because of an employee’s race. For more on our employment attorneys efforts to fight racial discrimination, click here.
DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION Both New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) prohibit disability discrimination. Employees who can do their job with reasonable accommodation must be allowed to do so without harassment, being fired or being treated less
favorably than employees without disabilities. For more the law’s protections against disability discrimination and our employment lawyers’ fight against it, click here.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION HARASSMENT
While Congress and the Federal Courts have been slower, New Jersey’s Legislature and courts are at the forefront of protecting the LGBTQ community against discrimination. The Law Against Discrimination prohibits harassment and all forms of discrimination against employees or applicants because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and who they are married to or in a relationship with. Our attorneys are committed to fighting against discrimination and harassment against employees because of who they are and who they love. To find out more about the laws against LGBTQ discrimination and our fight against it, click here.
OTHER FORMS OF ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT
New Jersey employment law offers a much wider range of workplace protections than does Federal law or that of virtually any other state. However, between state and federal employment law, in New Jersey, harassment and other forms of discrimination are barred because on employee’s inherent qualities which make them who they are, including:
* National origin
* Family status
* Marital status
* HIV related illnesses
* Domestic partnership or civil union status
* sexual orientation
* Atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait
* Gender identity
* Genetic information
* Liability for military service For more on workplace discrimination and discriminatory harassment, and our fight against it, click here.
WHISTLEBLOWER RETALIATION HARASSMENT
New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (known as “CEPA”) prohibits employers from retaliating against their employees, including by harassing them or creating a hostile work environment for them, because the employee disclosed, refused to participate in or objected to what the employee reasonably believed was illegal activity. Also, the Law Against Discrimination prohibits retaliation by harassment or otherwise against an employee who objects about discrimination. For more on our whistleblower protection practice, click here.
WORKERS COMPENSATION HARASSMENT
Employers also cannot harass employees because they filed or inquired about filing a workers compensation claim.
Our employment attorneys are dedicated to helping employees who have been the victims of workplace harassment. Call us at (973) 890-0004 to set up a consultation. We can help.