The #MeToo movement has brought long overdue attention to the systemic societal problems concerning workplace sexual harassment throughout the United States and the State of New Jersey. Most sexual harassment claims by a New Jersey employee are brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, a state statute. While a New Jersey employee or resident may also bring a claim of sexual harassment under the federal statute, Title VII, most New Jersey employment lawyers counsel clients to proceed with their sexual harassment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). This blog outlines the various types of workplace sexual harassment claims brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
In enacting New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law, the state legislature expressly declared “discrimination threatens not only the rights and proper privileges of the inhabitants of the State but menaces the institutions and foundation of a democratic State.” N.J.S.A.10:5-3. New Jersey courts interpreting the LAD have long and consistently recognized that employers are best situated to avoid or eliminate impermissible, pernicious employment practices relating to sexual harassment, to implement corrective measures to stop future sexual harassment, and to adopt and enforce employment policies that will serve to achieve the salutary purposes of the legislative mandate to end workplace discrimination. New Jersey courts consistently remind us that the overarching goal of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination is nothing less than the eradication of the cancer of discrimination.
There are different claims of sexual harassment that are actionable against an employer. These include claims of hostile work environment, quid pro quo sexual harassment, and sexual harassment retaliation.