Preventing Workplace Harassment in New Jersey: Legal Requirements and Best Strategies

Workplace harassment and hostile work environment claims are common employment litigation matters. Workplace harassment occurs where submission to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is made a term and condition of employment, or where submission to or rejection of such behavior forms the basis for employment decisions.  A hostile work environment harassment claim requires the employee to demonstrate that the conduct was unwelcome, that it occurred because of the individual’s sex, and that a reasonable person would consider it sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the employee’s conditions of employment.   

Legal Requirements For Preventing Workplace Harassment 

Employees in the State of New Jersey have the right to a workplace that is free from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.  Both federal and state laws prohibit workplace harassment and a hostile work environment.  In New Jersey, employees are afforded broad legal protections under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”).  

The LAD is a comprehensive law that covers a wide range of discriminatory practices, including workplace harassment. It prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on various protected characteristics, and harassment is considered a form of discrimination.

Best Strategies For Preventing Workplace Harassment 

Workplace harassment is a significant liability concern for employers.  Therefore, it is important for employers to have strategies and policies in place to prevent workplace harassment.  

Create a Zero-Tolerance Policy 

Creating a zero-tolerance harassment policy can offer several benefits to an employer. Such a policy demonstrates a strong commitment to maintaining a safe and respectful work environment, which can positively impact both employees and the organization as a whole. A zero-tolerance harassment policy not only fulfills legal obligations but also contributes to a positive workplace culture and overall organizational success. 

Implement Training and Awareness Programs 

Implementing training and awareness programs in the workplace can bring a variety of benefits to employers. These programs are designed to educate employees about important topics such as workplace policies, legal requirements, safety protocols, and more.

Incorporating training and awareness programs into an organization’s operations requires an investment of time and resources, but the long-term benefits can far outweigh the initial costs. By equipping employees with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, organizations can create a more capable, engaged, and resilient workforce.

Make Sure Everyone Knows How to Issue a Complaint 

It is important for employers to have a complaint mechanism in place.  Having a complaint mechanism in place for workplace harassment offers several benefits to employers. This mechanism allows employees to report instances of harassment, discrimination, or other inappropriate behavior in a safe and confidential manner. 

A crucial component of a comprehensive approach to preventing workplace harassment. It serves to protect both employees and the organization by addressing issues promptly, maintaining a respectful culture, and mitigating legal and reputational risks.

Build a Healthy Workplace Culture 

Building a healthy workplace culture can have many positive impacts on both employees and the organization as a whole. A healthy workplace culture is one where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated, and where there is a strong focus on collaboration, well-being, and shared values. A healthy workplace culture contributes to a more harmonious, productive, and sustainable work environment. It creates a sense of purpose, belonging, and shared values that benefit both employees and the organization’s overall success.

Consult With a New Jersey Workplace Harassment Lawyer 

The New Jersey workplace harassment lawyers at Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC  are trusted counselors who provide important strategic legal advice to their clients. Our employment 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

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