The New Jersey Division of Civil Rights has issued a report on sexual harassment, but what does it mean for workplaces in the state?
The report comes as a result of three public hearings held in 2019 by the Division of Civil Rights in partnership with the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Rutgers Law School International Human Rights Clinic. The goal of the project was to hear from New Jerseyans about their experiences in the workplace with sexual harassment and to chart a path forward for the state on this issue.
The report itself takes a thorough look at issues of workplace harassment: defining what sexual harassment in the workplace is, examining how sexual harassment can thrive or be enabled by certain workplace practices, and discussing the effectiveness of employer practices in preventing and remedying sexual harassment in the workplace.
In addition, the report makes specific recommendations for amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) in order to more effectively combat workplace sexual harassment. Among other things, these recommendations include expanding the LAD to cover domestic workers and unpaid interns; requiring employers to maintain clear, written anti-harassment policies; requiring employees to have harassment prevention training that covers specific topics; extending the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims, and requiring larger employers to report the type, number, and resolution of internal complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. It’s unclear at this time whether the New Jersey Legislature will adopt these recommendations.
The report also includes best practices for employers, including implementing strong anti-harassment policies, promoting effective harassment prevention training, actively encouraging reporting of complaints, and conducting investigations of complaints promptly, thoroughly, and impartially.
Employers should check out the report, which is available here, and think about how to implement best practices for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.