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Innocent Intention Or Sexual Harassment?

Overview of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination prohibited by employment laws on both state and federal levels. But when it comes to analyzing human behavior, things can get tricky. What if a fellow employee, manager, or someone else in the workplace says something or commits an action without intending to harass someone? Here is a short guide to sexual harassment in the workplace and how these issues are evaluated.

Sexual Harassment Defined

This kind of illegal employee discrimination can be defined as unwanted comments or actions of a sexual nature in the workplace. This includes sexual comments or advances, requests for sexual favors, and any other physical contact of a sexual nature. A common subset of sexual harassment is known as quid pro quo, where someone in a position of power promises things like a promotion, a pay raise, or even threats of termination and expects sexual favors in return.

Determining A Sexual Harassment Claim

The legal analysis that the court goes through to determine if a sexual harassment claim is legitimate or not is a balancing test with a number of factors. They will analyze the circumstances of each case, including the frequency of the alleged harassment, whether the accused was in a position of power, whether the harassment was physical, verbal, or both, and others. The court will also take into account the intentions of the accused. If the accused claims that they did not intend to harass the victim, but the court finds that a reasonable person should have known their words or actions would be unwelcome, then they can still find that harassment occurred. So while the court can take intentions into account, they will not absolve the accused from wrongdoing wholesale.

Sexual Harassment Examples

There are a number of actions that can be classified as sexual harassment. A few examples include:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Sexually-based jokes
  • Unwanted physical contact with someone
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Repeated sexual innuendo in conversation
  • Showing sexually explicit materials like pornography
  • Gender-based discrimination

Although isolated incidents or teasing is usually not regarded as harassment, more serious actions like physical touching can be regarded as harassment based on one incident alone.

What To Do If Harassed At Work

Most employers have a protocol to follow for sexual harassment issues in the workplace, usually outlined in their employee handbook. However, if you feel that you are not being taken seriously or that your rights are not being protected, seek the help of an employment attorney to help you navigate a difficult legal process.

Contact a New Jersey Employment Lawyer About Your Sexual Harassment Case Today!

Have you experienced sexual harassment or other discrimination in the workplace in New Jersey? Your rights are protected by law, and you deserve the best representation possible to hold your employer accountable for their misdeeds. The experienced attorneys at Attorneys Hartman, Chartered assist clients with sexual harassment claims and other employment law issues. We represent clients throughout New Jersey. Call us anytime at (856) 235-0220 or (856) 812-8033, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation. Our main office is located at 68 E. 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.

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Moorestown Office68 E. Main StreetMoorestown, NJ 08057
Fax: 856.273.8617
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Moorestown Office68 E. Main StreetMoorestown, NJ 08057
Fax: 856.273.8617
Map + Directions