What to do if you’re sexually harassed at work

Workers in New Jersey and elsewhere who have been victims of sexual harassment may feel powerless to hold their abusers accountable for their actions. However, there are many steps that you can take to protect yourself against managers or colleagues who may act inappropriately toward you.

Let the harasser know that you’re uncomfortable

There is a chance that the person who is harassing you has no idea that his or her actions are making you uncomfortable. In many cases, simply talking to this person can get that individual’s behavior to change almost immediately. At a minimum, your harasser will know that his or her actions won’t be tolerated and that any further infractions may result in a formal complaint.

Let management know about the problem

Often, your employer will have a set of rules that you must follow when making a sexual harassment claim. If your employer doesn’t have a reporting policy, talk to your supervisor or any other manager in the company who you trust. It may also be possible to file a sexual harassment charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if your employer doesn’t take the allegation seriously.

You may be given an opportunity to pursue a lawsuit

If the EEOC determines that your claim is valid, you may be given an opportunity to take your employer to court. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, the value of lost benefits and for any emotional distress related to being sexually harassed. Furthermore, your employer may be responsible for paying any legal fees or court costs that you incurred. In addition to financial compensation, the company named in the lawsuit may be required to make changes to its employment policies.

If you believe that you have been sexually harassed at work, it may be in your best interest to hire an employment law attorney. An attorney may be able to help you organize text messages, emails or other evidence of inappropriate conduct. This may maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in the case.

Signs your employer may be discriminating against your age

A long career, with its accrual of experience, makes older employees well-positioned for promotion opportunities. Despite this, some employers opt for younger employees. Sometimes their motivation is financial: they feel they can pay less experienced workers with lower wages. Though being passed over for a job opportunity because you’re ‘overqualified’ is sometimes a thinly veiled justification for age discrimination, it may not qualify as legal discrimination.

How the law prohibits age discrimination

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects NJ employees from age discrimination by ) and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). Here are some of the ways to recognize age discrimination in the workplace:

  • Biased employment action: If an employer makes a decision (based on your age) regarding your employment status, which might include promotion denial, refusal to hire or job termination.
  • Adverse working conditions: These conditions could occur via negative evaluations without a reasonable premise, special considerations compared to other employees (such as more monitoring or surveillance), inappropriately negative comments, verbal threats, harassment.
  • Intimidation: These employer actions include anything that would prevent a reasonable person from pursuing their rights.

Understanding your rights

There are nuances to the age discrimination laws that could allow for a job termination because the company is losing money, but not because they will be required to pay retirement benefits soon or that the benefits for an older person are more costly. These intricacies can make discrimination claims tricky to navigate for an employee. Your years of hard work should be rewarded, not undermined by an unscrupulous employer. If you feel like an employer is using your age unfairly or discriminating against you, an attorney with experience in employment law can help you decide if you have a viable case.