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New Jersey Lawmakers Address Inadequacies in Sexual Harassment Prevention Laws

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The compassionate attorneys of The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. understand how traumatizing and dehumanizing sexual harassment can be for victims. We believe that no one should have to tolerate sexual harassment in their workplace, school, or anywhere else. That’s why we are committed to helping victims of sexual harassment seek the justice they deserve.

Fortunately, we’re not alone in this goal. A state report released earlier this year called Preventing and Eliminating Sexual Harassment in New Jersey has brought to light some of the shortcomings in New Jersey’s current sexual harassment laws. According to the report, New Jersey’s Laws Against Discrimination (LAD) can employ the outlined improvements to be more comprehensive and inclusive for all.

Patricia Teffenhart, New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s executive director, said during a press conference that “we need to identify the grey areas” in the LAD, according to an article about the report. Let’s take a look at some of the recommendations intended to clarify those grey areas.

Protecting Domestic Workers

One recommendation in the report is made in regard to the safety of New Jersey’s domestic workers. LAD excludes domestic workers from its sexual harassment prevention laws since they do not fall under the definition of “employee.” This weakness is particularly harmful to marginalized populations as a majority of domestic workers in the United States are Black, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander women.

By expanding the definition of “employee” to include domestic workers, New Jersey’s LAD can better protect the marginalized people that comprise a majority of this workforce.

Extending the Statute of Limitations

Another of the report’s recommendations is to extend the statute of limitations on reporting harassment. Currently, victims have 180 days to file a complaint with the Division of Civil Rights (DCR) and two years to sue in court.

According to witnesses who participated in the study, the current statute of limitations is too short, “especially for those who have suffered the trauma of sexual harassment.” Processing trauma takes time, and extending the statute of limitations on both filing and suing could alleviate pressure on victims to rush through it.

Requiring Sexual Harassment Training

According to the report, at least five states have recently passed legislation that makes sexual harassment training mandatory. Witnesses who participated in the study recommended mandating “meaningful training for both employees and supervisory staff” in New Jersey as well.

The report recommends that the LAD be amended to mandate sexual harassment training in all workplaces that outlines prohibited behaviors, addresses bystander intervention, and is accessible to those who do not speak English. In addition, the report recommends that there be separate training for supervisors that addresses how to best prevent sexual harassment violations in their workplaces for the safety of all employees.

Contact The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. Today

If you are a victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, contact the experienced attorneys of The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. today. We have the skillset needed to preserve your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly in your sexual harassment case. Give us a call at (856) 817-6221 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to assisting you.