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.
- Familial status.
- Sexual orientation.
- 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.