How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey
It is important to understand how to prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination because it provides employees with a legal remedy for harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
If an employee is experiencing a hostile work environment, it can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health, as well as their ability to perform their job duties. It can also create a toxic workplace environment that can affect other employees and the organization as a whole.
Knowing how to prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination can help employees protect their legal rights and hold their employer accountable for harassment and discrimination.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, a hostile work environment occurs when an individual is subjected to harassing conduct based on a protected characteristic such as race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by law, that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive or hostile work environment.
The conduct must be unwelcome, offensive, or hostile and can include verbal or physical behavior such as derogatory comments, slurs, threats, intimidation, or physical assault. It may also include non-verbal conduct such as displaying offensive images or engaging in unwelcome touching.
Can You Sue Your Employer For a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey?
Yes, an employee who has experienced a hostile work environment in New Jersey may sue their employer in court under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. In order to have a valid claim, the employee must demonstrate that the harassment was based on protected characteristics such as race, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, age, or other protected status.
How to Prove a Work Environment is Hostile
To prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, an employee must generally show that: the employee was subjected to conduct that was severe or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of their employment and create an abusive or hostile work environment; the conduct was based on a protected characteristic such as race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, or any other protected status under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination; and the conduct was unwelcome and offensive to the employee.
Evidence to prove a hostile work environment claim can include:
- Testimony from the employee who experienced the harassment;
- Witness testimony from other employees who witnessed the harassment or were also subjected to it;
- Documentation of the harassment, such as emails, texts, or other messages;
- Any formal complaints made by the employee about the harassment to their employer;
- The employer’s response to the harassment, including any investigation or corrective actions taken;
- Evidence of any adverse employment actions taken against the employee as a result of their complaints or objections to the harassment.
If an employee can prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, they may be entitled to damages, including lost wages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages.
If You’re a Victim of a Hostile Work Environment an NJ Employment Attorney Can Help
It is important for employees who believe they are experiencing a hostile work environment to document the harassment and report it to their employer or a human resources representative as soon as possible, and to seek the advice of an experienced New Jersey employment law attorney to protect their legal rights.
The employment attorneys at CMS are trusted counselors who provide important strategic legal advice to their clients. Our attorneys understand their clients’ needs and advocate on their behalf. If you believe you have been subject to unlawful workplace harassment or a hostile work environment, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.