Sexual harassment can come in many forms. It is important for employees to know that sexual harassment is a violation of state and federal gender discrimination laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex and encompasses sexual harassment. Additionally, New Jersey has state laws that protect employees from sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. If an employee complains to the harasser, a member of management, a state or federal agency, or human resources, they are also protected from retaliation as a result of that complaint.
One Employee’s Story
Recently, a special education teacher in Teaneck, New Jersey filed a lawsuit against the principal and the school board alleging that the principal sexually harassed her. As in many instances of sexual harassment, the teacher’s relationship with the principal began on a positive note. She alleged that the male principal, in her first year or so, praised her for her work and the relationship was generally professional. After about a year, the teacher alleged that the principal began making advances by demanding attention from her in ways that were not related to teaching.
According to the lawsuit, the advances began to escalate with the principal inviting the teacher to drinks after work, and when she refused, he then started to complain that she never invited him anywhere. He then started to make physical advances toward her by trying to hug and kiss her in the parking lot of the school.
Retaliation and a Hostile Work Environment
The teacher then complained to the principal about his practice of driving students in his own car. After that complaint, she alleged that the principal’s behavior toward her became very hostile, which led to him ultimately firing her under the alleged pretext that there were no longer enough children who qualified for her special education classroom to justify her position. The teacher introduced evidence showing that shortly after she was fired, her job title was then advertised in a job posting by the district.
Sexual harassment cases are very fact-specific and is often in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, a thorough assessment of the alleged behavior is necessary in each case to assess violations of the civil rights laws in effect.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Victims of Sexual Harassment at Work
Sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation can occur in the workplace. If you or someone you know experienced sexual harassment at work, the Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will evaluate your case and provide advice on the next best steps. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.