Workplace Woes and Foes: Co-worker Harassment and Restraining Orders

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 04, 2023 | 0 Comments

Navigating workplace relationships can be extremely challenging. Throughout the week, we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family. Like our family, co-workers observe us and can learn just what to say to ruin our day or strike at our anxieties. Reactions are human, and you may have found yourself in a position where an argument with a co-worker has escalated past the point of workplace squabbles. If you have yelled at, threatened, insulted, or even physically assaulted a co-worker, it's important to understand the legal liabilities you could potentially face.

Workplace Harassment In New Jersey

The New Jersey State Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) was enacted in 1945 and is a comprehensive state law that prohibits discrimination in various aspects of daily life, including the workplace. Some of the categories addressed under the law include:

  • Race, color, and national origin.
  • Age.
  • Sex.
  • Familial status.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Disability.
  • Military Status.

Under New Jersey General Statutes §10:5-2, it is illegal to harass or discriminate against any individual in the workplace based on protected characteristics within the NJALD. Some examples of workplace harassment can include the following:

  • Offensive jokes or comments about a person's protected characteristics.
  • Making unwanted suggestive and/or sexual comments or requests.
  • The use or distribution of offensive images or materials based on a person's protected characteristics, etc.

Can My Co-worker Pursue a Protection From Abuse Order Against Me?

In New Jersey, Restraining Orders (ROs) fall under the scope of the state's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The act provides that ROs are available to protect individuals who have been victims of domestic violence or who are in a close relationship with the abuser. Some persons protected under the act include spouses, former partners, dating partners, and other members of the intimate family or household.

Because ROs are typically only ordered where a close or intimate relationship exists, a co-worker may not be able to successfully pursue an RO against you unless there is a more intimate relationship outside of your workplace.

Other Possible Claims

Just because a co-worker may not be able to obtain an RO against you, you must be prepared for other possible claims that can arise. At the bare minimum, your co-worker can share their complaints with your human resources department, jeopardizing your current job and advancement opportunities. They can also file a formal complaint against you with The New Jersey Division On Civil Rights. Finally, your co-worker can pursue standard civil law claims such as civil harassment, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, etc.

We Are Standing By to Defend Your Rights

Workplace harassment may seem like nothing more than co-worker drama, but it can escalate quickly to a legal battle. If you are facing accusations of workplace harassment, contact The Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team today for guidance on how to best defend yourself and your career. Contact us today by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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