Employees in New Jersey and elsewhere are entitled to work in a non-hostile work environment. When a worker feels harassed or discriminated against, he or she may decide to examine what legal options are available under our state's employment laws. One former school district secretary did this in 2011, claiming she was a sexual harassment victim. A ruling was recently made in her favor in her civil suit against the Long Branch Board of Education and the former superintendent.
The woman filed a civil claim after alleging that she was sexually assaulted by the former superintendent, who also made her perform sex acts on him. In June, a jury deliberated on whether criminal charges should be filed against the former superintendent for the sexual assault. However, they did not believe there was enough evidence to put him through a criminal trial.
An arbitrator ruled in early August in the civil suit that the defendants should pay the plaintiff $4.5 million. However, the ruling, which was made by a former judge, is non-binding. That means either side has 30 days to dispute this ruling if they choose to do so, which would render the arbitration invalid.
While this civil suit may not be resolved as of yet, the sexual harassment victim took action by standing up for her rights and holding the alleged perpetrator accountable for his actions. In New Jersey and across the U.S., all workers are legally protected from this or any other type of workplace harassment. If those protections are violated, the affected worker may benefit from seeking legal advice about what steps he or she can take.
Source: nj.com, "Report: Long Branch schools, ex-superintendent told to pay $4.5M for sexual harassment claim," Rob Spahr, Aug. 8, 2013