Schools today are not the haven we would like them to be. Not only is there gun violence, but sexual abuse is happening in schools throughout the country. Many believe we need to do more to protect children from being preyed upon in schools.
If a contracted employee in a New Jersey school has been accused of sexual misconduct with a child, the school will initiate an investigation. However, it has been a frequent practice for schools to deal with the issue by also declining to renew the contract. The employee then moves on to work at a different school where they will often continue the misconduct.
Record of Misconduct
Recent media investigations and reporting have helped spur passage of a new law to deal with the problem. In a recently reported case, a teacher was convicted of sexually assaulting six students in three different school districts. In another instance, a teacher left three jobs where he was accused of misconduct over a 10-year period. Part of the problem is the reluctance of school administrators to give a negative review of a former employee for fear of having to defend against a lawsuit. That may now change with the new law.
Mandatory Reporting Requirements
The new law requires schools to review the employment history of applicants for positions where they will have regular contact with students. The applicants will be required to disclose 20 years of employment history to potential employers. The law goes into effect on June 1.
In the law, sexual misconduct is defined as any verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic communication, or any other act directed toward or with a student that is designed to establish a sexual relationship with the student, including a sexual invitation, dating or soliciting a date, engaging in sexual dialogue, making sexually suggestive comments, self-disclosure or physical exposure of a sexual or erotic nature, and any other sexual, indecent, or erotic contact with a student.
Each school considering a prospective applicant will be required to perform a review of the employment history and verify the information provided. The review must be documented in writing via a letter, an e-mail, or a written summary of a telephonic conversation.
Schools failing to perform due diligence in investigating references will not be penalized. However, the law provides an incentive to comply. Schools providing employment history information will be immune from criminal and civil liability by the applicant for disclosure of information on the applicant.
New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect Victims of Sexual Harassment
If you have suffered from sexual harassment, the New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will represent you with skill and compassion. Contact us today at 215-569-1999 or submit an online contact form for a free confidential consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including throughout the state of New Jersey.