A researcher at the University of Maine suggests that about 70 percent of women experience unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. Forty-five percent of men also experience such intimidating situations. Some believe that sexual harassment is harmless, but recent research proves otherwise.
Sexual Harassment, Productivity, and Health
At minimum, sexual harassment harms the self-confidence of a person. It is well-known that confidence leads to increased productivity, so it should be a concern of the employer.
Beyond this, research indicates that the health of a person is negatively impacted in six ways when unwanted sexual advances are presented. These six ways are listed below.
- Depression: Depression impacts the mental health of a person, reducing their confidence and causing feelings of self-doubt. The long-term impact of depression can be both physical and financial.
- PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder comes from intense trauma or general trauma experienced over a long time-frame. Either way, the condition causes a person to have difficulty focusing and can result in several physiological disorders.
- Suicide: One of the most common contributing factors in suicide is sexual harassment. Rates among women especially increase when unwanted sexual threats and innuendos combine with physical contact.
- Sleep Disorders: Stress and anxiety are leading causes of sleep disorders. Fatigue can cause a range of physical ailments as well as impact on-the-job performance. Fatigue can also result in on-the-job accidents.
- High Blood Pressure (HBP): The link between high blood pressure and heart disease is well-established. Less understood is that sexual harassment can contribute to HBP. Hence, sexual harassment can increase the risk of cardiovascular illnesses the same way stress does.
- Neck and Spinal Pain: Another physical side effect of the stress of unwanted sexual attention in the workplace is neck pain. Although researchers are not entirely certain of the reasons, they have found an increase in such pain among victims of workplace sexual harassment.
What is Considered Sexual Harassment in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) have outlined what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. Here we break down the different aspects to help you understand what falls under this category according to the law.
Types of Harassment
Sexual harassment can be initiated by anyone in a workplace, including but not limited to employers, co-workers, supervisors, clients, or customers, and can involve individuals of any gender.
It is important to understand that sexual harassment is not confined to physical advances alone. It encompasses a wide range of inappropriate behaviors, including unwelcome innuendos, jokes, and conversations that can make an individual feel uncomfortable based on their gender or sexual orientation.
Other examples of sexual harassment in the workplace can include:
- Gender-based discrimination, including unequal pay or lack of promotion.
- Objectifying colleagues based on how they look.
- Sharing sexually explicit emails or images.
- Unwanted physical contact, like touching or patting.
- Creating a hostile work environment through increased scrutiny or harassment of individuals based on their gender.
- Offering work benefits in exchange for sexual favors (quid pro quo harassment.)
- Engaging in verbal or physical abuse.
- Using sexist language or slurs.
- Retaliating against employees who report sexual harassment.
Facing Workplace Retaliation
Employees are sometimes subjected to retaliation, such as wrongful termination or discipline, for bringing a sexual harassment complaint forward. This is illegal, and being aware of the rights and protections you have for reporting these incidents is crucial. If you’ve faced retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, consult a Marlton whistleblower attorney for guidance on how to proceed legally.
What Should You Do If You Feel Sexually Harassed?
In New Jersey, safeguarding employees from workplace sexual harassment is not just a moral duty but a legal obligation for employers. Under the regulations laid down by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and corresponding federal statutes, there are strict guidelines that employers must adhere to in preventing, investigating, and addressing instances of sexual harassment. If you find yourself a victim, here is a direct approach to handling the situation:
Tell The Harasser To Stop
Inform the harasser that their actions are unwelcome and request them to stop immediately. Being vocal can sometimes halt the harassment in its tracks.
Document the Harassment
Should the harassment continue, start building a case by taking detailed notes of each incident. Your documentation should include:
- Nature of the harassment: Clearly define what form the harassment took.
- Time and location: Note when and where each incident took place.
- People involved: List down the names of the harasser(s) and any potential witnesses.
- Witness statements: If there are witnesses, having their statements can strengthen your case.
It is always prudent to consult with a New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer to understand your rights and the legal routes available to you. They can guide you on potential compensations for economic damages and personal suffering that you might be entitled to.
Remember, it’s crucial not only to stand up against harassment but also to follow a structured approach to ensure that the harasser is held accountable and you secure the justice you deserve. Stay informed and take the right steps to protect your dignity and rights at the workplace.
Marlton Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Advocate for Those in Hostile Work Environments
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual harassment or workplace intimidation in South Jersey, contact the Cherry Hill sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. You have the right to fight unwanted sexual advances at work and you do not have to fight alone. Since 1974, McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. has been helping people in New Jersey fight workplace injustice. We have offices in Red Bank, New Jersey and Marlton, New Jersey. To schedule a consultation at either location, complete our online form or call now 732-842-6500 or 856-985-9800.