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NJ Governor Phil Murphy Overhauls State’s Anti-Workplace Harassment Laws

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Murphy Delivers on Promise to Bring Sweeping Changes to NJ Workplace Culture

From workplace discrimination to quid pro quo and hostile environments, the State of New Jersey has finally started pulling back the curtain on toxic workplace cultures that have been ignored for decades. At his State of the State Address in January, Governor Phil Murphy vowed to make sweeping changes to the workplace culture in New Jersey — and on February 18, 2020, the Garden State Governor delivered on that promise by announcing legislation that will completely overhaul the state’s anti-workplace harassment laws.  Let’s take a look at the impact Governor Murphy’s legislation will have on workplaces in New Jersey. 

How the Proposal Changes NJ Discrimination Laws

Here are a few of the most impactful changes that were announced to New Jersey’s discrimination laws:

Clearer Definition of a Hostile Work Environment

With strong, deliberate language, this legislation clarifies the “severe or pervasive” standard for establishing a hostile work environment, emphasizing that one single incident is enough to create a hostile work environment. Additionally, the bill clarifies that harassment does not need to involve physical touching.

Holding Employers Accountable

The bill requires that all employers — public and private — implement workplace policies and formal training on harassment and unlawful discrimination, mandating that the Division on Civil Rights (DCR)  lay the groundwork for compliance by creating model policies and training initiatives. Employers with at least 50 workers would also be obligated to collect and report all data related to workplace discrimination complaints, harassment, and retaliation to the DCR on an annual basis. 

Expanded Employee Protections

Governor Murphy’s sweeping legislation adds unpaid interns and domestic workers to the list of employees who are protected by New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD). Additionally, the bill extends the statute of limitations for LAD cases from two years to three, while also extending the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with DCR from 180 days to a full year.

What to Do if You Are Mistreated at Work

If you are a victim of workplace harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct of any form, the skilled attorneys at Morgan Rooks, P.C. can help you obtain justice. Whether you have been discriminated against or you are dealing with ongoing sexual harassment at work, our attorneys serving South Jersey and beyond know how to take an ideal approach to the litigation process. Contact us today for a consultation about your case.