Workplace Harassment Lawyers, NJ

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Workplace Harassment Lawyers, NJ

According to Forbes, almost four out of ten US workers experience workplace harassment. A toxic workplace and frequent harassment can have devastating impacts on a victim’s life, including mental health, family relationships, and career progression.

However, if you experience severe or frequent harassment at work, such as discrimination, physical violence, or threats, you could have a legal claim and recover damages. Morgan & Morgan’s experienced workplace harassment lawyers in NJ want to help. Contact us today to learn more in a free case evaluation.

What Qualifies as Harassment in NJ?

Harassment in the workplace can significantly impact employees and the entire workplace. Employment laws define harassment as unwanted or offensive behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Harassment can take many forms, including:

  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Nonverbal actions

Physical Harassment

Physical harassment involves unwanted or offensive physical contact at work. Examples of physical harassment include:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Blocking someone’s path
  • Pushing a person out of the way
  • Destroying someone’s personal belongings
  • Physical attacks, such as hitting and kicking  

This type of harassment can be especially harmful because it creates a fear of physical harm. Physical harassment at work is illegal, regardless of the circumstances.

Verbal Harassment

Verbal harassment involves using language to intimidate, threaten, or degrade an employee or coworker. Examples of verbal harassment include:

  • Name-calling
  • Yelling
  • Sexist jokes
  • Racial slurs
  • Threats

Verbal harassment, if ongoing, can create a hostile work environment and hurt employee morale and productivity. Verbal harassment is illegal if based on a person's race, religion, gender, or other protected characteristic.

Nonverbal Harassment

Nonverbal harassment does not involve words or physical contact. Examples include making obscene gestures or spreading malicious rumors about a coworker. This type of harassment can be just as damaging as verbal or physical acts, as it creates an intimidating and hostile work environment.

When Harassment at Work Is Illegal

Harassment based on a person's protected characteristic is illegal under federal and NJ state laws, such as:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).

If you are experiencing harassment at work due to belonging to a protected class, you could have a legal claim. Protected characteristics include, among others:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability

In addition to being deeply upsetting for the affected employee, discriminatory harassment can create a toxic work environment dominated by fear and oppression.

Third-Party Harassment

Workplace harassment is not limited to comments or actions by supervisors or coworkers. Third parties, such as customers or vendors, can also engage in verbal or physical harassment of employees. Generally, it is up to the employers to prevent harassment by third parties.

Morgan & Morgan Is Here for You

If you are experiencing illegal verbal or physical workplace harassment or threats of violence, don’t put up with it and get in touch with us. Your employer might be responsible if they fail to stop an abusive coworker. Our dedicated NJ workplace harassment lawyers can determine whether you have a claim and qualify for compensation.

The Effects of Workplace Harassment

Verbal or physical workplace harassment can significantly affect an individual’s health, job performance, and career.

Employee Health

Individuals who experience harassment may experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, which can lead to physical symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

In addition to the physical impacts, employees may also experience mental health issues due to a toxic workplace, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of low self-esteem

Employees may feel isolated, hopeless, and helpless when repeatedly harassed and bullied at work. Moreover, the trauma experienced at work could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition that can last for years or even a lifetime.

Employee Productivity

The mental and physical symptoms produced by workplace harassment, such as low self-esteem, insomnia, and headaches, can impact an employee's ability to perform their job duties, leading to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and even job loss.

Moreover, workplace harassment can also result in a decline in employee morale and motivation. When workers feel threatened or intimidated, they are likely to become less productive and engaged in their work. A company with a toxic work culture will have difficulty attracting new talent and retaining employees, leading to a higher turnover and increased recruitment and training costs. When a workplace is toxic, nobody wins.

Victims Could Qualify for Damages

Employees may feel the psychological scars from workplace harassment for years to come, potentially affecting their personal relationships, health, and overall quality of life. In some cases, workers may become so traumatized from a toxic work environment that they may never be able to return to work or require years of therapy to recover.

However, if you or a family member is affected, you could have legal recourse and receive damages. If you are suffering from repeated harassment at work, consult our workplace harassment lawyers in NJ to clarify your legal options and the next best steps for getting justice.

You Could Sue for Workplace Harassment in NJ

Workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by supervisors, employers, customers, and vendors. If you have experienced harassment in the workplace, you may have a claim under state and federal law. Moreover, you may also have a legal claim if you experienced retaliation for reporting harassment or participating in an investigation of harassment.

Suing an employer can be complex and challenging, requiring strong evidence. Navigating the legal system can be time-consuming, costly, and intimidating. However, our seasoned employment attorneys in NJ could help you stand up to an employer and recover damages.

Damages You Could Recover

In a workplace harassment lawsuit in New Jersey, you may be able to recover damages such as:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Lost future earnings
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical expenses for treatment of physical or emotional injuries
  • Loss of career opportunities
  • Damage to reputation
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Reinstatement to former position or promotion

In some cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages intended to punish a particularly reckless employer. Note that the compensation you could recover will depend on the laws applying to your case and other factors. A workplace harassment lawyer NJ at Morgan & Morgan can assess your claim and determine the worth of your case.

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • What Should I Do if I Am Physically Harassed at Work in NJ?

    Getting verbally or physically threatened at work can be highly distressing. If you can, remove yourself from the situation. If the harasser is making threats of violence against you or your property, tell your employer and call law enforcement. If you are injured, seek medical help as soon as possible. You can also contact an attorney to learn about your rights and determine your next best steps.

    As a next step, identify whether your workplace has a harassment policy and contact the person responsible for handling such situations. Once you have informed your employer, they are responsible for dealing with the problem and protecting you from future harassment and bullying. 

  • Is it Illegal When a Coworker Makes a Joke About Me?

    According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), one-off jokes, teasing, or casual comments that are not serious are not illegal. For workplace comments and jokes to be unlawful, they must be:

    • Unwanted or unwelcome

    AND

    • Severe or frequent in nature

    A single instance of harassment is generally not illegal unless it is severe, such as involving a racial slur or violence. However, if you are experiencing any harassment at work, reporting it to your supervisor immediately can help you protect your legal rights.

  • What Constitutes a Toxic Work Environment?

    A toxic work environment can be characterized by unacceptable behavior from coworkers or superiors, persistent negativity, and unhealthy competition. Signs of a toxic workplace can include:

    • Verbal or physical abuse
    • Bullying
    • Discrimination and harassment
    • Retaliation against employees reporting incidents or grievances
    • Excessive workloads
    • Health and safety hazards.

    A toxic work environment can be extremely detrimental to an employee's mental and physical health, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.

    Could I Sue an Employer for a Toxic Work Environment?

    Generally, to be able to sue an employer for a toxic work environment, the harassment experienced must qualify for illegal discrimination. In other words, it must be based on race, gender, age, religion, or other protected characteristics.

  • What Are My Next Steps if I Am Harassed at Work?

    A NJ workplace harassment attorney could help you sue an employer or the perpetrator if you are the victim of violence or threatened violence at your workplace. However, before you can file a lawsuit against your employer, you may have to file a complaint with a government agency first. In detail, here are your next best steps:

    Report the Incident to Your Employer

    If your employer has a harassment or discrimination complaint procedure, follow it meticulously and keep a copy of all documents for your records. Reporting harassment protects your legal rights and provides you with evidence should you wish to take the matter further. Your employer cannot claim that they did not know about the harassment when you file an internal complaint.

    File an Administrative Charge With the EEOC

    After reporting harassment to your employer, you can move forward and file an administrative charge with the EEOC or the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR). It is important to note that victims generally have to file a complaint with the EEOC or state agency before they can file a civil lawsuit against their employer.

    Once the relevant agency has finished assessing your complaint and issues a “right to sue” letter, you can go ahead with filing a lawsuit.

    Filing a Harassment Lawsuit

    Once the EEOC or DCR has given the go-ahead, you can prepare your lawsuit. A workplace harassment lawyer in NJ can file your lawsuit in court and fight hard for what you deserve. Hiring an employment attorney as soon as you experience harassment can give you the best chance of winning your harassment claim.

  • How Can a Morgan & Morgan Workplace Harassment Lawyer in NJ Help Me?

    Workplace harassment claims can be tricky. Having an experienced lawyer by your side can help you prevail and recover the settlement you deserve. Morgan & Morgan’s employment lawyers know how to prove your case and show the impacts of workplace harassment on your physical health, emotional health, financial situation, and career. We can:

    Advise you on your rights: Our employment lawyers can inform you about the laws that protect you from workplace harassment and advise you on your legal options.

    File a complaint: We can help you file a complaint with your employer or the relevant NJ government agency, guide you through the process, and represent you during any investigations or legal proceedings.

    Negotiate a fair settlement: Our attorneys can help you negotiate a comprehensive settlement that protects your rights.

    Represent you in court: Sometimes, employers refuse to settle for what your case is worth. When this happens, our labor attorneys in New Jersey can represent you strongly in court and fight for full and fair compensation.

    Our tenacious attorneys have been fighting for the rights of the people for more than three decades, recovering over $20 billion in damages. You can trust us to have your best interest at heart.

  • Morgan & Morgan Fights for Victims of Workplace Harassment

    Morgan & Morgan knows the devastating effects toxic workplaces can have on employees. We have the resources and determination to stand up to employers who fail to act when their employees are harassed and discriminated against. When we take your case, you pay nothing unless we win and recover compensation for you.

    Our workplace harassment lawyers in NJ are waiting to hear from you. Contact us today for a free case review to determine your next steps.

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