Both state and federal laws make workplace sexual harassment unlawful. Further, an employer is prohibited from retaliating agaisnt you for complaining about sexual harassment. When it comes to federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the law that makes it illegal for anyone, including both employers and employees, to engage in workplace sexual harassment. When it comes to state law, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects New Jerseyites from workplace sexual discrimination. However, the NJLAD is broader in scope than Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For example, the NJLAD applies to every employer in New Jersey, regardless of size, whereas the federal law applies to employers with at least 15 employees.
Suppose you fell victim to workplace sexual harassment and filed a sexual harassment claim only for an employer to retaliate against you. It is vital that you retain a skilled employment lawyer in such a case. A lawyer can help you seek damages for retaliation.
What is Considered Retaliation?
According to the EEOC, retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee or job applicant for asserting their rights to be free from employment discrimination, including sexual harassment harassment. Asserting such rights is called “protected activity.” If an employer retaliated against you for complaining about sexual harassment (which constitutes asserting your rights to be free from employment discrimination and “protected activity”), you have the right to take legal action against them.
It is crucial to note that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees or job applicants who file sexual harassment claims even if it is determined that an employee’s or job applicant’s claim has no merit. As long as an employee or job applicant had a reasonable belief that they had been subjected to sexual harassment, they are protected by the law. However, it is best to avoid filing claims that have no merit. Employees and job applicants should always consult an attorney before filing a sexual harassment claim.
What Acts Constitute Retaliation?
In case you are unsure whether what an employer did constitutes retaliation, below are some acts that count as retaliation:
- Denying bonuses or other employee benefits
- Harassing or threatening (including online harassment)
- Punishing unfairly
- Giving the cold shoulder
- Causing harm
Generally, retaliation comes in the form of adverse employment actions. These are actions that are reasonably likely to impair an individual’s job performance or prospects for promotion or advancement. Such actions are usually aimed at keeping employees or job applicants from engaging in protected activities.
How an Employment Lawyer Can Help You
In New Jersey, to prove that an employer retaliated against you, you need to show a causal relationship between the protected activity, in this case, filing a sexual harassment claim, and the adverse employment action your employer took. You need to work with an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer to prove this. An employment lawyer can help you file a separate retaliation claim or raise a retaliation claim within your sexual harassment claim, prove your claim, and recover the damages you deserve.
Contact Our Office for a Free Case Evaluation
If an employer has retaliated against you or someone you know for filing a sexual harassment claim, contact the Trabosh Law Firm. We are committed to helping victims of sexual harassment.