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Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you or your job are being threatened because of workplace sexual harassment, Monmouth County workplace sexual harassment attorney Tara Breslow-Testa is the first person you should talk to. Ms. Breslow-Testa understands the emotional and legal implications of accusing someone of sexual harassment, and she has stood beside accusers in court, facing down aggressive defenders and cautious judges, to champion women (and men) whose lives and livelihoods have been threatened by sexual harassment.

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) covers discrimination in a wide variety of categories. Sexual harassment, but also discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information liability for military service, or mental or physical disability, including AIDS and HIV related illnesses.

LAD covers all of these, but also discrimination based on sex, and sexual harassment. According to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General: “Under the LAD, sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual relations or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. There are generally two types of sexual harassment:

  1. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer, or an employer's agent, implicitly or explicitly attempts to make submission to sexual demands a condition of employment.
  2. Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to sexual, abusive, or offensive conduct because of his or her gender.

Sexual harassment and sex crimes in the workplace are a hot topic right now and if you turn on the evening news, you will find the rich and the famous being accused of - and brought down for - quid pro quo sexual harassment, and also for creating hostile work environments.

What is happening on the news is happening across New Jersey and the United States. For 2016, the The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that of all the charges filed with the organization, one-third had an allegation of harassment: 12,860 sex-based charges nationwide for 2016. And this does not include charges of sexual harassment filed with state or local agencies.

A sexual harassment attorney in Monmouth County and all of New Jersey, Tara Breslow-Testa has defended a wide range of people who have been subjected to quid pro quo sexual harassment, and weren’t afraid to stand up for themselves, make accusations and have their day in court.

For a free, private, confidential consultation, call (732) 784-2880

Quid pro quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment (See: Harvey Weinstein) is where an employee - or potential employee - understands he or she must emotionally put up with sexual advances or physically engage in a sexual relationship to be employed, advance their career or avoid poor evaluations, demotions or being blacklisted by that employer or within an industry.

It is illegal under New Jersey law for an employer to subject an employee to this kind of sexual harassment, and it is also illegal for an employer, or an employer’s agent to promise favorable treatment - promotions, increase in salary, preferential assignments - based on an employee’s acceptance of sexual advances or relations.

Hostile Work Environment

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination defines a hostile work environment as when “an employee is subjected to sexual, abusive, or offensive conduct because of his or her gender. Such conduct creates an unlawful work environment when it is severe or pervasive enough to make a reasonable person of the employee's gender believe that the conditions of employment have been altered and the working environment has become hostile or abusive.”

A hostile work environment (See: Bill O’Reilly) is defined by many facets of “unwelcome conduct” including sexual explicit material in the workplace, unwanted touching, demands/requests for sexual relations, unwanted sexual advances, lewd and/or sexual comments.

A hostile work environment doesn’t necessarily have to be physical to constitute sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can also involve teasing, taunting, threats, pranks, gossip - all based on an employee’s sex or sexuality: Man or woman or transsexual, gay or straight.

Sample Case: Correcting a Hostile Work Environment in the Corrections Academy

For example, in 2002, Gina Marie DiPasquale filed a hostile work environment complaint with the Equal Employment Division of the Department of Corrections for what she experienced as an instructor at the Correctional Staff Training Academy in Sea Girt.

According to Gina DiPasquale vs State of New Jersey:

In January 2002, female recruits complained to plaintiff that male instructors embarrassed, bullied and demeaned them because they could not keep up in physical training sessions. In February 2002, plaintiff reported to Director Buffa that male instructors were pushing female recruits to the point of physical exhaustion and illness. She also complained that male instructors sang sexually offensive cadences during physical training, used verbal obscenities, inappropriately touched female recruits, and demeaned female recruits because of their inability or perceived inability to perform physical exercises. No corrective action was taken.”

DiPasquale believed these behaviors constituted sexual harassment in a hostile work environment. For filing a series of claims, DiPasquale suffered prolonged retaliation and reassignment and conflict with coworkers and superiors.

DiPasquale took the case to court and was awarded $415,000. She agreed not to return to the academy, but went on to become a senior corrections officer in New Jersey state prison.

Take Action

If you believe you are being sexually harassed in your workplace, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General advises: “...you should make it clear to the person harassing you that the conduct is unwelcome. For example, if it happens at work, you can tell the person that you find the behavior offensive, and that it is against the law. Insist that the harassment stop.”

If that doesn’t work, go to a supervisor, senior manager, HR representative or your union, and file a complaint. If that does not stop the harassment - or if you are subjected to penalizing behavior by higher ups - it’s time to call Tara Breslow-Testa - a lawyer representing sexual assault in Monmouth county and all corners of New Jersey.

#Metoo = #BettercallTara

A hostile work environment can be as subtle as gossip or as physical as sexual assault. Experienced in sexual harassment cases in New Jersey, Tara Breslow-Testa is the attorney to talk to, to determine if a workplace has been allowed to become so toxic, that it’s actionable.

Sexual harassment has many facets and flavors. If you believe you have been victimized by sexual harassment in the workplace, the first person you should talk to is Monmouth County sexual harassment lawyer Tara Breslow-Testa. You will be invited to a free, private consultation, where you can describe your experience in detail, in confidence. Let Tara’s experience with sexual harassment cases guide you in how you should proceed.

For a free consultation, call (732) 784-2880