Being in a position of power sometimes brings out the worst in people. Although many people who serve in public office work to serve the public or to remedy social problems, some are willing to step on people for advancement or abuse their authority, especially in the workplace. If you have ever met a woman who has attended the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJLM) annual conference, chances are that she has some war stories about the creepy or downright abusive behavior of some of the high-ranking men at the conference, according to recent reports. Widespread sexual harassment in local government and politics has been an open secret for years, and New Jersey has recently enacted legislation that specifically addresses sexual harassment and other kinds of sexual misconduct in the political sector, in addition to the other federal and state laws that prohibit sexual harassment and other types of employment discrimination. If you have questions about filing formal complaints about sexual harassment in the workplace, contact a sexual harassment lawyer.
League of Municipalities Convenes in Person Amid New Measures Against Sexual Harassment
Before the pandemic, the after-parties and social events surrounding the NJLM conference were rampant with creepy comments, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual assaults, according to reports. The problem got bad enough that the conference organizers brainstormed changes before the 2019 conference and even made changes to the Walk to Washington event. The conference met virtually, meaning that there were no cocktail receptions and boozy after-parties in hotels and private residences; but before the annual meeting convened in 2021, the conference organizers knew that more changes were necessary.
About 14,000 participants attended the NJLM conference this year, and outside the conference rooms, they saw signs detailing which behaviors were considered harassment. The NJLM also set up a hotline where participants could report harassment that they had experienced or witnessed. Meanwhile, on June 30, 2021, New Jersey enacted SB3389, which establishes a commission to investigate sexual harassment allegations against political candidates and other individuals connected to political campaigns, such as candidates’ staff members, lobbyists, members of political party committees, and journalists who cover political campaigns. The new law aims to close a loophole in employment discrimination, as case law allowed defendants to pass the buck as far as who is the employer responsible in employment discrimination cases regarding political campaigns. Another new law requires political party committee members, candidates for public office, and campaign staffers to undergo training about sexual harassment.
Contact an Employment Lawyer About Sexual Harassment in the Political Sphere
Politics has never had a squeaky-clean reputation, but people who work on political campaigns may the same protections against sexual harassment and other forms of employment discrimination as any other employees. A sexual harassment lawyer can help you present your claim effectively. McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.’s employment lawyers are available for consultation. Please call our office in Red Bank, New Jersey at 732-842-6500, our Marlton, New Jersey office at 856-985-9800, or our Newark, New Jersey office at 973-787-9040 find out more.