New Jersey Hostile Work Environment Lawyers

new jersey hostile work environment



recovered for our employment law cases

A hostile work environment exists when a worker experiences severe or pervasive harassment in the workplace based on a protected characteristic, such as national origin, race, sex, religion, or color. Employers may be liable for a hostile work environment, especially if they encourage or fail to address the behavior.

If you believe you’re in a hostile work environment, it’s time to speak to an attorney. The New Jersey hostile work environment lawyers at Joseph & Norinsberg represent clients in employment claims. We can explain your legal options and advocate for your rights, helping to restore order in your workplace or recover damages.

Why Choose Joseph & Norinsberg for Your New Jersey Hostile Work Environment Case?

The seasoned New Jersey employment attorneys at Joseph & Norinsberg represent clients in a range of employment-related claims, including discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, and hostile work environment actions. We’re highly skilled and tenacious hostile work environment lawyers who stop at nothing to get the justice our clients deserve.

Our firm takes on the cases others try to avoid. For instance, senior partners Bennitta Joseph and Jon L. Norinsberg recently filed a $15 million lawsuit on behalf of six employees who experienced sexual abuse, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation at a New Jersey restaurant. Other high-profile cases we’ve handled involve gender discrimination and workplace sexual harassment.

Our team includes several renowned attorneys, including Crystal Dozier, a Certified Trial Attorney as designated by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. We have extensive knowledge of employment law, and our attorneys understand the consequences a hostile work environment can have on workers.

We are proud of our five-star Google rating, not because of the number but because of the satisfied clients it represents. We treat all our clients like family, and they regularly stay in touch with us long after their cases are resolved. We regularly receive unsolicited client testimonials such as the following:

Our Case Results

We represented a client whose colleagues and supervisors discriminated against him based on his national origin. After he complained to management, he was terminated. We secured a substantial severance package to compensate him for all the harm he suffered.

Our firm also represented a client whose boss sexually harassed her and then physically assaulted her when she denied his advances. We were able to secure compensation for several years of lost wages, emotional distress, and compensation for the physical assault.

Understanding Hostile Work Environments

A hostile work environment occurs when a co-worker’s or supervisor’s unwelcome conduct based on a protected characteristic makes an employee feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or scared while on the job. Various types of behaviors constitute unwelcome conduct, including bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, violence, and harassment. Protected characteristics include sex, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, or national origin.

For a worker to have an actionable hostile work environment claim, the conduct must be severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. While a singular incident usually doesn’t amount to a hostile work environment, it may qualify if it’s particularly severe. For instance, using racial slurs or inappropriately grabbing a co-worker may be enough to meet the definition of a hostile work environment, even if it only happens once.

Workers frequently subjected to discriminatory comments, harassment, and bullying may experience a decline in their well-being and productivity. It can also impact their career advancement opportunities. It’s essential to nip the problem in the bud early to avoid an escalation that adversely affects your job satisfaction and financial future.

Hostile Work Environment Laws in New Jersey

New Jersey strongly opposes discrimination and hostile work environments, as evidenced by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, or NJLAD. NJLAD is one of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination regulations in the nation, and it makes employers liable for discriminatory actions in the workplace, including those that create a hostile work environment.

Under NJLAD, employers must not:

  • Mistreat workers due to a protected characteristic, such as age, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation
  • Support a hostile work environment where workers are subject to ongoing harassment and demeaning comments
  • Retaliate against a worker who complains or reports harassment or discrimination in the workplace

Federal law also prohibits activities that create a hostile work environment. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers cannot discriminate against or harass workers based on their race, sex, national origin, color, or religion.

Steps To Address a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey

If you believe you’re the victim of a hostile work environment, it’s vital to document your experience. Here are a few steps you can take.

1. Document Each Incident You Experience

Any time you’re the victim of workplace harassment or bullying, document the incident. Note the day and time it occurred, as well as the names and positions of the people involved, and gather evidence, such as emails or text messages, to support your claim. If the incident concerns a promotion or hiring activity, save any relevant paperwork, such as your application.

If you complain about the incident to a supervisor, note the date of the complaint and their response. If you make the complaint in writing, save a copy.

2. Report the Incident to Human Resources

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission advises employees to report incidents of harassment early so employers can correct the situation before it becomes more severe. An early report can sometimes prevent harassment from evolving into a full-blown hostile work environment.

Follow your workplace’s policies and procedures to report the incident to your HR department. A written report documenting your experience and the people involved will typically suffice.

3. Get Support From Colleagues or Mentors

If co-workers or other employees witnessed the incident, ask them for support. They may be willing to confirm your experience to supervisors or human resources. Sometimes, speaking with a mentor about the incident can alleviate any anxiety or stress you’re feeling. Your mentor may also support you with supervisors, managers, and HR.

4. Consult With a Lawyer

No one should have to suffer in silence at a hostile workplace. If your reports of harassment or other unwelcome behaviors fail to result in a change, it’s time to speak to a New Jersey hostile work environment lawyer. Your attorney can explain your legal options and guide you through a difficult situation. If your situation warrants legal action, your lawyer will represent you against your employer in a lawsuit.

Legal Remedies and Actions for Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey

Victims of a hostile work environment should file a complaint with the EEOC and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, or NJ DCR, to initiate an investigation. The report must be made within 180 days of the allegation, with few exceptions. While neither agency requires you to secure legal representation, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney for assistance in preparing your report and gathering appropriate evidence.

Once you initiate a complaint with the EEOC or the NJ DCR, the agency will start an investigation with your employer. The purpose of the inquiry and discourse is to reconcile the issue satisfactorily. Some potential remedies include workplace policy changes, reinstatement to your position, and damages for pain and suffering or humiliation. If the agency cannot resolve your complaint, you may be able to bring the case before a judge.

Victims may file a state civil lawsuit with the New Jersey Superior Court if the incident occurred within the previous two years. A lawsuit may allow you to collect damages for emotional pain and suffering, punitive damages, and reimbursement for attorney’s fees.

Get Help From an Experienced Hostile Work Environment Lawyer in NJ

At Joseph & Norinsberg, our attorneys have over 75 years of collective experience fighting for the rights of workers who experience discrimination, harassment, and bullying in the workplace. We understand the emotional and physical toll a hostile workplace environment can have on an employee’s well-being, and we fight adamantly against those who allow it to continue.

If you’re tired of suffering and don’t know where to turn, it’s time to take legal action. Call our office at (212) 227-5700 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation. We will help you navigate an unhealthy situation and rectify the injustices you’ve experienced.

Consult With Our Legal Team

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Call us at (212) 227-5700
Our Workplace Harassment Case Results

Sexual harassment case against a luxury brand in the fashion industry (confidential).


Secured compensation for several years of lost wages, and emotional distress, and compensation for the physical assault.


Sexual harassment case settled against a large bio-tech company.

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