New Jersey workers have broader protections against sexual harassment under New Jersey laws than under federal law and have different deadlines that workers should be aware of to preserve their sexual harassment claims.
How are New Jersey sexual harassment protections different from federal protections?
- New Jersey state law provides greater protection and remedies for sexual harassment or assault in the workplace than federal law.
- For example, while federal law prohibits sexual harassment only for employers with 15 or more employees, New Jersey law applies to qualifying employers of any size.
- New Jersey law provides for individual liability, meaning aggrieved workers can sue not just their employer but any individual who aided and abetted the wrongdoing.
- The state law also protects independent contractors from sexual harassment, not just those classified as employees as is the case under federal law.
- Finally, federal law caps an employee’s recovery of compensatory and punitive damages at $300,000, while New Jersey law does not have a cap on what employees who prevails on their claims can recover.
How can I report sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace in New Jersey?
- You have several avenues to report sexual harassment or sexual assault in New Jersey.
- If you have suffered workplace sexual harassed or assaulted, you can report the misconduct to your employer. New Jersey state law and federal law prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who file a complaint of sexual harassment.
- Beyond reporting the conduct directly to your employer, you have three options for reporting sexual harassment or assault you have faced in the workplace in New Jersey: you may file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), or you may go straight to court and file a lawsuit under state law.
- Choosing which route to pursue is a strategic decision, and the route you choose may limit your which claims you can pursue. We recommend consulting with an attorney to determine the best course of action for you.
I was sexually harassed or assaulted a long time ago. Do I still have a claim in New Jersey?
- You might.
- Under New Jersey state law, you have just 180 days to file a charge with the Division on Civil Rights and up to two years to file a sexual harassment claim in court. For coverage under federal law, a charge must be filed within 300 days of the sexual harassment.
- But there are certain circumstances that can extend those deadlines. You also may have related claims under different laws. It is safest to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to learn whether you still have live claims.
Where can I get more information about workplace sexual harassment in New Jersey?
- The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General provides information about workplace sexual harassment under New Jersey law.
If you are experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment, contact Katz Banks Kumin to speak with one of our intake attorneys to discuss your case, without charge or further obligation.