Bergen County

New Jersey Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

What is a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey?

Many people have misconceptions about what constitutes a hostile work environment. Though unpleasant to deal with, a co-worker, supervisor, or employer simply being short-tempered or inconsiderate does not generally create a hostile work environment, which has a more specific legal definition.

A hostile work environment develops when one or more employees are subjected to discrimination, harassment, abuse, or intimidation on the basis of perceived or actual membership in a “protected class,” particularly if the conduct persists after the victim has addressed his or her concerns with the harasser or a superior. Examples of “protected classes” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark piece of federal legislation prohibiting workplace discrimination, include:

  • Color
  • Creed (Religion)
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Sex

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies only to employers with at least 15 employees, meaning employees at small companies are frequently excluded from its protections. However, a state law known as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) provides more comprehensive protection. LAD applies to companies of all sizes, ranging from small family-run businesses to large corporations and franchises. LAD also classifies as protected several additional groups which are not covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including but not limited to:

  • Disability
  • Domestic Partner Status
  • Gender Identity/Expression
  • Genetic Information
  • Military Veteran Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual Orientation/Preference
attorney usmaan sleemi
Usmaan Sleemi
Usmaan Sleemi

Can I Sue My Employer for Creating a Hostile Work Environment?

A hostile work environment can instill fear, create anxiety, and ultimately, result in financial losses to the victim. However, it may be possible for a victim of a hostile work environment to recover compensation, or “damages,” by filing a claim or lawsuit with assistance from a workplace discrimination attorney in New Jersey. An attorney can help determine whether it is more appropriate to file a claim with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, or file a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court. Different legal deadlines apply to each approach, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, before you inadvertently forfeit your right to sue and recover compensation.

The first step is to determine whether you have grounds to sue your employer. You may have grounds to file a claim or lawsuit if:

  • You reported the condition or conduct to your company’s human resources department, or to a supervisor or superior.
  • Your employer failed to take appropriate actions to correct the problem and end the misconduct within a reasonable period of time, despite receiving notice of the issue.

The conduct alleged in your claim or lawsuit will be reviewed by a judge, jury, or the New Jersey Department on Civil Rights, depending on the situation. If it is determined that your work environment was abusive, discriminatory, intimidating, or otherwise constituted a hostile work environment, you may be entitled to compensation.

Northern New Jersey Hostile Work Environment Attorneys for Employees

Do not worry if you are currently unsure as to whether your workplace would be considered a hostile work environment under state or federal laws. That is what our attorneys are here to assist you with, and we encourage you to contact our law offices for a free and confidential consultation concerning your legal rights as an employee in New Jersey.

If you have been exposed to a hostile work environment at a company or agency the North Jersey region, our New Jersey employment law attorneys can work diligently to prove that your rights were violated, that your employer should be held accountable, and that you should be awarded compensation for expenses and financial losses stemming from the misconduct. To arrange a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi today at (973) 453-4060.


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Law Office of Usmaan Sleemi

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Parsippany, New Jersey 07054

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