New Jersey Manager Workplace Harassment

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In an ideal world, all workers would have access to a job free from harassment, where employees would feel capable of doing their best work. However, despite laws protecting workers’ rights and prohibiting workplace harassment, 22 percent of employees report experiencing harassment on the job.

Ongoing harassment can take a physical and emotional toll on a worker’s well-being, leading to anxiety, depression, and a loss of self-esteem. It can also limit a worker’s future employment prospects and damage their reputation.

New Jersey laws prohibit manager workplace harassment based on certain protected characteristics and empower workers to protect their rights. You may be eligible for remedies and compensatory damages if you have a claim. A New Jersey manager workplace harassment lawyer from Joseph & Norinsberg can guide you through the legal process.

Why Choose Joseph & Norinsberg for Your New Jersey Manager Workplace Harassment Case?

Joseph & Norinsberg offers relentless and empathetic legal representation to workers in employment-related cases. We fiercely protect the fundamental rights of New Jersey workers in harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims. We aim to ensure all workers receive fair pay, equal treatment, and a discrimination-free work environment.

Our New Jersey manager workplace harassment attorneys are known for taking on complicated cases other firms prefer to avoid. Recently, senior partners Bennitta Joseph and Jon L. Norinsberg filed a $15 million lawsuit against a New Jersey restaurant owner who subjected six employees to ongoing sexual abuse, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. We’ve also succeeded in several highly complex employment-related claims, many of which attracted significant media attention.

Our seasoned New Jersey workplace harassment lawyers and paralegal staff provide empathetic support throughout your entire case, both inside and outside the courtroom. Our senior trial attorney, Crystal Dozier, is a designated Certified Trial Attorney, an honor bestowed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Our Clients Have Given Us a Five-Star Rating

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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; 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 Workplace Discrimination Results:

  • We represented a client who was sexually harassed by her boss and then physically assaulted when she denied his advances. We secured compensation for several years of lost wages and emotional distress. We also obtained compensation for the physical assault.
  • Our client was sexually harassed by her immediate supervisor. Other employees witnessed the harassment. After this, our client was terminated under the guise of a “layoff.” We negotiated a substantial severance increase for her over the initial offer—and did so in only three short months after termination.

Understanding Manager Harassment at Work

Workplace harassment can occur among colleagues and customers, but it’s incredibly uncomfortable if it involves a direct manager or supervisor. Managers have seniority over their workers and often call the shots on promotions, pay raises, and hiring and firing. If you’re the focus of a manager’s harassment, you may find the workplace unbearable and your earnings prospects limited.

While not all harassment by managers is actionable, state and federal laws prohibit harassment based on a victim’s protected traits, such as race, weight, religion, national origin, sex, ethnicity, age, or disability status. Such harassment is considered illegal discrimination under the law.

Examples of manager workplace harassment include the following:

  • Setting goals well outside your capacity to meet
  • Requiring you to take on demeaning tasks outside your job description
  • Forcing you to work excessive hours regularly
  • Asking highly personal questions about your life outside your job
  • Tying your promotion or pay raise to a boss’s sexual advances
  • Isolating or bullying you in front of your peers
  • Spreading unfounded rumors about you in the workplace
  • Excessively criticizing your work performance
  • Verbally abusing you

Your Rights Against Your Manager Under New Jersey Law

Both federal and New Jersey state laws prohibit manager workplace harassment.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a federal law requiring employers to treat workers fairly in all work-related activities, including hiring, promotions, firing, and the privileges of employment. Under Title VII, it’s unlawful to discriminate against an individual based on a protected class status, including race, religion, sex, national origin, or color. Thus, managers can’t treat workers differently based on their traits.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, or NJLAD, broadens the protections provided by federal law to include harassment against workers based on their gender identity, disability status, pregnancy, and marital status. It explicitly prohibits bias-based sexual and quid pro quo harassment that creates a hostile work environment.

The NJLAD prevents managers and employers from retaliating against workers who file a complaint or report concerning harassment or discrimination. If you decide to exercise your rights and a manager demotes, fires, or takes some other adverse action against you, it can lead to further liability.

Steps To Address Manager Workplace Harassment in New Jersey

If you believe a manager is harassing you in the workplace, you have options. There is no reason to suffer in silence. Here are some steps to take.

1. Document Incidents as They Occur

Before filing a formal claim, gathering evidence to support it is vital. Keep records of the harassment you experience from a boss. Note what happened, the date and time, and the name of anyone who witnessed the incident. If there’s any physical evidence of your experience, such as an email, make a copy of it. Part of the claims process involves evidence, and the more you have to substantiate your case, the easier it will be to prove it.

2. File a Complaint With the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights

The NJ DCR accepts complaints for violations of the NJ LAD. To file, you must demonstrate the violation occurred within the past 180 days. You can complain online through the NJ Bias Investigation Access System or by calling 1 (833) NJDCR4U.

Your complaint should include details about your experience and copies of any documents you have to substantiate it. You’ll need to include the names of the people involved, their contact information, and any witnesses who saw it. Once the NJ LAD receives your complaint, they’ll contact you for an intake interview and begin the investigation process.

The investigation will include interviews with you, the manager, and anyone else involved. Once completed, the Director of the Division on Civil Rights will issue a decision indicating whether probable cause exists that the manager violated the law. Remedies include job reinstatement, compensatory damages, remuneration for pain and humiliation, and attorney’s fees.

3. Pursue a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

New Jersey doesn’t require workers to go through the NJ DCR to obtain relief in a workplace manager harassment claim. You may decide to file a lawsuit in the Superior Court instead. If you pursue your case through court, you can sue up to two years following the alleged violation.

In a lawsuit, you must present evidence to prove your case, and your employer will have the opportunity to defend itself. While you’re not required to secure legal representation, the NJ DCR recommends you do so. A skilled and knowledgeable employment attorney can investigate your case, gather evidence to build a strong case, and advocate for you in court.

The judge and jury will decide the outcome of your claim. The remedies available are similar to those available through the NJ DCR complaint process and include job reinstatement, compensatory damages, compensation for pain and humiliation, and reimbursement for attorney’s fees. A judge may award you punitive damages if your manager’s actions were egregious.

Complaint With the NJ DCR Versus a Lawsuit: Which One's the Best Option?

There are benefits for each option.

If you go through the NJ DCR, you are not obligated to hire an attorney. However, securing legal representation may lead to a better outcome since your attorney will understand the complaint process and what’s needed to prove your case.

In a DCR complaint, the agency investigates the claim. In a lawsuit, you and your attorney must conduct the investigation. However, hiring an attorney to conduct an independent investigation is usually advisable because it gives you greater control over the process.

With a complaint filed with the NJ DCR, the Director of the Division on Civil Rights will make the final decision. If the agency finds probable cause that your manager broke the law, it will attempt conciliation to negotiate a settlement that may include reinstatement, compensatory damages, damages for pain and humiliation, and attorneys’ fees. It can also make the employer pay a fine and require it to institute policy changes and take other measures to prevent future harassment.

If the agency fails to find probable cause that your manager broke the law, you cannot file a lawsuit if you later want to. However, you can appeal the DCR’s decision with the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division.

In a lawsuit, you’ll need to present your case in court for a jury or judge to decide, which may be emotionally traumatizing. While the recoverable damages are similar to a DCR claim, you may also be eligible for punitive damages, which aren’t available through a DCR complaint.

You have longer to decide whether to file a lawsuit—up to two years since the incident occurred. On the other hand, you must file a complaint with the NJ DCR within 180 days of the alleged violation.

Dealing with a manager workplace harassment claim can be challenging on your own. A skilled attorney from Joseph & Norinsberg can determine the best channel to pursue your claim. We can relieve the burden of the legal details and advocate to protect your rights throughout the process. Thus, securing representation with us may lead to a more favorable outcome.

Get Help From an Experienced Workplace Harassment Lawyer in New Jersey

The seasoned attorneys at Joseph & Norinsberg have over 75 years of collective experience handling employment-related cases in New Jersey. We can evaluate your claim and guide you throughout the legal process, whether you decide to file a lawsuit or initiate a complaint through the NJ DCR.

Don’t let the situation worsen—get the help you need today. Call us at (212) 227-5700 to schedule a consultation or complete our online intake form.

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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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