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Defining sexual harassment at work

According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, sexual harassment at the workplace is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature or unwelcome sexual advances that interfere with a person’s ability to perform his or her job. It is further described as a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment might include persistent offensive jokes, inappropriate touching, putting offensive things on bulletin boards and a whole lot more. Although many people believe that women are the ones who tend to suffer from this kind of abuse the most, it is actually very common for men to be abused in this fashion as well.

Fortunately, no one ever needs to put up with sexual harassment in the state of New Jersey or elsewhere. Both New Jersey and federal laws protect workers from hostile work environments and harassment.

Generally, the law defines sexual harassment in two ways:

— Hostile work environment

— Quid pro quo sexual harassment.

In the case of a hostile work environment, conduct against the employee is unwelcome, hostile and establishes an abusive work atmosphere. In the case of quid pro quo sexual harassment, a person of authority will require subordinates to endure sexual harassment in order to keep their jobs, get employment perks and/or other benefits like promotions and raises.

If you suspect that you are being victimized by workplace sexual harassment, there is no reason for you to put up with it. Indeed, New Jersey employees should never fear reporting the instances of harassment or demanding that it be put to a stop. Even if they are retaliated against and lose their jobs as a result, abused employees can seek financial restitution against their employers in court.

Source: FindLaw, “Sexual Harassment at Work,” accessed Nov. 19, 2015

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