When you work in a hostile work environment, it can affect not only your livelihood, but also your overall job satisfaction. A hostile work environment can make it difficult to do your job well, which can further affect career advancement and income potential. Depending on the level or cause of the hostile work environment, it might be possible to sue your work employer.
What Does a Hostile Work Environment Refer to?
A hostile work environment defines any work situation in which discrimination is present. The state of New Jersey protects employees from being discriminated against for:
- Sexual orientation
- Veteran status
- Disability status
The same laws prohibit employers from harassing an employee for the listed characteristics. Employers who discriminate, harass an employee based on these protections, or fail to evaluate a report of discrimination can constitute a hostile work environment.
Important Steps to Take Following Discrimination in a Hostile Environment
It can feel overwhelming as you plan to take action when in a hostile work environment. You might worry about immediate retaliation or a loss of income. You might feel nervous about reporting your employer or workplace. However, doing so is important to not only protect your rights, but to also protect other current employees from the same hostile work environment.
If you are dealing with a hostile work environment, follow these important steps:
- Report your concerns to the company: Management or a specific employee’s actions do not always resemble the actions of the entire business. If you feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, it is always a good idea to bring it up with your human resource department or boss, unless your concerns are with your boss.
- File a complaint: If reporting your concerns with your business is not satisfactory, then you can file an official complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.
- Consider filing a lawsuit: Some employees might choose to file a lawsuit in lieu of an official complaint with New Jersey.
It is important to consider the details of your case and your legal options. Also, keep in mind, you have just six months to file an official complaint. You also have just two years to file a lawsuit in New Jersey court.
What to Expect After Filing a Complaint
What to expect after filing a complaint or lawsuit will depend on which route you take. The state will require that you submit documentation of the discrimination. New Jersey allows for damages including lost wages, lost benefits, legal and court fees, and pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may be available. If your employer is found to be discriminatory, then they might also be fined.
It is always a good idea to reach out to an employment lawyer when dealing with a discriminatory employer. Working with a lawyer who is familiar with New Jersey’s laws will help you effectively manage the requirements of filing an official claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can also help you value your case and collect the compensation that you deserve.
Contact a Marlton Employment Lawyer to Discuss Your Hostile Workplace Case
Feeling as if you are being discriminated against, particularly if it affects your income, can feel troubling. New Jersey laws protect you from a hostile work environment, especially one in which your employer discriminates against you. If you are dealing with a hostile work environment, you should speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced employment law attorneys at Attorneys Hartman, Chartered represent clients in Burlington County, Camden County, Moorestown, Marlton, and all across New Jersey. Call 856-209-6087 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your case. Our main office is located at 68 East Main Street, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.