New Jersey and Pennsylvania Hostile Work Environment Attorneys
With Offices in Mercer County, NJ & Bucks County, PA
You have a right to feel safe at work. Unfortunately, far too many workplaces in New Jersey and Pennsylvania can be considered “hostile work environments” when bosses or coworkers take actions that make those around them upset and uncomfortable. Trying to do your job in a toxic environment can cause permanent damage to your emotional wellbeing. In the worst cases, you may feel as though you have no choice but to quit your job.
If you’ve had to endure a hostile work environment, you should know you are protected by both federal and state laws. Employees have a legal right to be free from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. However, because of the extremely complicated nature of discrimination law and the complex claims process in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, many victimized workers never fully protect their rights. You need to speak with the skilled employment law attorneys at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson. We’ve helped numerous clients file successful employment discrimination claims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania under both state and federal laws.
What Constitutes a “Hostile Work Environment?”
Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers against unwelcome conduct in the workplace. Under state law, workers are protected by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD).
The legal definition of a “hostile work environment” has to do with the comfort level of the employee. When supervisors or other employees engage in actions or utter words that make a worker feel uncomfortable because of their sex, race, age, religion, or disability, this could be considered a hostile work environment. For example, a case of actionable sexual harassment that creates a hostile work environment might feature unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate touching, and lewd comments.
An employer has a legal obligation to put a stop to this kind of conduct once the offensive conduct is made known to the employer. Moreover, employers are required to provide adequate training to their workers on how to act appropriately in the workplace. If the employer fails to take the necessary precautions or steps to eradicate a hostile work environment, they may be liable under state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
What Should You Do If You’re Working in a Hostile Work Environment?
There are certain steps you can take to ensure your legal rights are protected in a workplace harassment case involving a hostile work environment:
- Keep a detailed record of any potentially harassing or offensive conduct. Include details about what exactly is causing you to feel uncomfortable at work. Write down the names of anyone who might be able to testify as a witness to the offensive conduct. Start doing this as soon as you notice problems at work.
- Gather any materials that might bolster your hostile work environment claim. If you have access to any emails or text messages that suggest inappropriate conduct in the workplace, make copies and store them somewhere safe.
- Report the inappropriate conduct to your immediate supervisor or the human resources department. Make sure your complaint is in writing, and keep a copy for yourself.
- Call an experienced employment law lawyer for advice on how to proceed with your claim. The team at KCR has helped countless victims of workplace harassment and can help you, as well.
Proving a hostile work environment claim can be difficult. Your lawyer must demonstrate that the conduct was unwelcome; that it occurred because of your sex, race, age, religion, disability, or some other protected category; and that it was so severe as to create an intimidating environment at work. The standard of proof in hostile work environment cases is the “reasonable person” standard. You need an experienced workplace harassment attorney who will be able to navigate the complex discrimination and harassment claims process and prove that the conduct you endured would offend a reasonable person.
NJ & PA Hostile Work Environment Claim Attorneys
Hostile work environments can develop slowly over time. It may take years before you realize you’ve been victimized by harassment or inappropriate conduct in the workplace. However, it is imperative that you take action as soon as you become aware of a hostile work environment because anti-discrimination laws have strict statutes of limitations.
Do not delay when it comes to protecting your legal rights. Your job is too important to put at risk. Call the experienced employment discrimination and harassment lawyers at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson today. You can reach us at our Trenton office, or you can submit our online contact form to arrange a consultation about your case.