Ever thought about the many faces of harassment lurking in the workplace? It’s not just about inappropriate jokes or remarks. In this article, we’ll dig deep into the different types of harassment, laws protecting employees, and how to document incidents of harassment.
Stick with us and arm yourself with the knowledge to tackle workplace harassment head-on.
The Many Types of Harassment
Workplace harassment comes in all shapes and sizes. Let’s explore some of the most common types you might encounter.
Words can hurt. Verbal harassment includes insults, offensive jokes, and demeaning comments. Sometimes, people might not realize that their words can be harmful. If you find yourself at the receiving end of such remarks, don’t hesitate to speak up and let the person know that their words are inappropriate.
Sexual harassment involves unwanted advances, lewd comments, or sharing explicit material. It’s essential to recognize that sexual harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender. If someone’s behavior is making you uncomfortable, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly and professionally.
Discrimination occurs when someone treats you unfairly because of your:
- or other characteristics
It’s not only morally wrong but also illegal. If you suspect that you’re being discriminated against, it’s essential to gather evidence and report the issue to your supervisor or human resources department.
Bullying in the workplace can take many forms, from repeated aggressive behavior to intimidation. It can create a hostile work environment that affects your mental and emotional well-being. If you’re experiencing workplace bullying, it’s important to take action to protect your rights.
Laws That Shield You
New Jersey has some powerful laws to keep employees safe from workplace harassment. Let’s dive deeper into the legal protection available to you.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD)
The NJLAD is a comprehensive law that forbids discrimination based on various factors such as race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, and more. It covers a wide range of workplace situations, from hiring and promotions to terminations and working conditions.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This law reinforces the protections provided by the NJLAD and ensures that employees in New Jersey have an additional layer of protection against workplace discrimination and harassment.
New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)
The CEPA, also known as the “Whistleblower Act,” offers protection to employees who report unlawful or unethical practices in the workplace. This law ensures that employees who come forward to report wrongdoing are not subject to retaliation from their employers.
Experiencing harassment, especially sexual harassment, can be distressing. It’s important to keep a clear head and document the following information when dealing with harassment incidents:
Dates, Times, and Locations
Keep a record of when and where each harassment incident occurs. This information will be crucial when filing a complaint or talking to your lawyer.
Write down the names of the people involved in the harassment, including the harasser and any potential witnesses.
Description of the Harassment
Document the details of the harassment incident, including any verbal or physical actions that took place.
Save any emails, texts, or other communications related to the harassment. These can serve as valuable evidence in a harassment case.
Addressing Harassment in the Workplace
If you find yourself experiencing harassment at work, it’s essential to take action. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to address the issue:
If you feel comfortable, try talking to the person responsible for the harassment. Sometimes, a simple conversation can resolve the issue.
Report the Incident
If speaking up doesn’t work or isn’t an option, report the incident to your supervisor or HR department in writing. Make sure to provide all the relevant information and documentation you have collected.
Reach out to colleagues, friends, or family members for emotional support and advice. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Consult a Lawyer
If the situation doesn’t improve or gets worse, it might be time to seek legal advice. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and options for pursuing a case.
Talking to Your Lawyer
If you decide to pursue a harassment lawsuit, it’s essential to communicate effectively with your lawyer. Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth collaboration:
Be Open and Honest
Your lawyer needs to have all the relevant information to build a strong case. Don’t hold back any details, even if they seem insignificant.
Share Documentation and Evidence
Provide your lawyer with the documentation you’ve collected, including incident reports, witness statements, and any other relevant materials.
Legal matters can be complex. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or request further explanation if something is unclear.
Keep Your Lawyer Updated
If there are any new developments or changes in your situation, inform your lawyer immediately. This information could be crucial to your case.
Preventing Workplace Harassment
Preventing harassment is a collective responsibility that involves both employers and employees. Here are some steps that can be taken to create a harassment-free work environment:
Develop an Anti-harassment Policy
A well-defined policy can set the tone for a respectful and inclusive workplace. Make sure the policy is easily accessible and understood by all employees.
Train Employees and Managers
Regular training sessions can help employees and managers recognize the different types of harassment and learn how to address them effectively.
Encourage Open Communication
Foster a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns and reporting incidents without fear of retaliation.
Hold Regular Check-ins
Organize meetings to discuss workplace issues and address concerns. This can help identify potential problems early on and promote a healthy work environment.
Foster a Culture of Respect
Encourage teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect among employees. A supportive atmosphere can go a long way in preventing workplace harassment.
Understanding Types of Harassment Is the First Step
Being aware of the various types of harassment is crucial in addressing and preventing these harmful behaviors. New Jersey has strong laws in place to protect employees from workplace harassment, but it’s essential to document incidents and report them to the appropriate authorities.
Remember, open communication with your lawyer is key when pursuing a harassment lawsuit. Together, we can build a safer and more inclusive work environment for all employees in New Jersey.
Don’t let workplace harassment go unchecked. Stand up, be informed, and make a difference. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.