A lawsuit that has been filed against dentists accusing them of sexual harassment has not only included employees who work in the office, but patients as well. These claims often include offensive statements and innuendos, as well as inappropriate, unwelcome, and unlawful sexual harassment and conduct, such as touching and lewd gestures. Employers have a duty to prevent and remedy harassment, and yet, unfortunately, like many other cases where concerns are reported, the response is often both inappropriate and illegal, when employees’ concerns are dismissed and they are told that they can leave.
In some cases, the dentists have even fired the employee for refusing their advances. In these cases, sexual harassment is actually a form of discrimination based on sex/gender, which means that employment discrimination issues are also often involved. Not only do employees often face retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, but significant emotional harm, as well. In these cases, if a clinic and/or LLC employs the dentist and fails to stop the sexual harassment, the litigation can focus on its culpability as well.
Sexual Harassment Violates New Jersey Anti-Discrimination Law
If those who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace do not stand up and do what is right, it affects everyone. Employers who engage in sexual harassment not only create a hostile work environment, but also violate the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by engaging in harassment, discriminatory intimidation, and retaliation by firing employees when they refuse to respond in a particular way to their sexually inappropriate advances. In addition, a single act of harassment can be sufficient to constitute an unlawful act.
Types of Harassment Recognized by the Courts
The courts in New Jersey have recognized two specific categories of sexual harassment claims, including:
- Quid pro quo: When an employer makes an employee’s submission to their sexual advances a condition of their employment
- Hostile work environment: When the employer harasses an employee to the point where the work environment becomes hostile
Strict Liability and Punitive Damages
Employers can be held strictly liable for damages when it comes to supervisory sexual harassment, and this includes punitive damages if willful indifference or active participation by upper management was involved. In addition, employees who have been harassed and subjected to discrimination like this can seek compensation due to emotional distress, loss of employment, and loss of past and future wages.
If You Have Been Sexually Harassed as an Employee of a Dental Office, Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber for Help
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, contact the dedicated sexual harassment and retaliation recovery attorneys of McOmber McOmber & Luber today to find out how we can help ensure that these wrongs committed against you are addressed.