Under both state and federal employment laws, employees have a right to expect a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination. Despite laws to the contrary, inappropriate and harassing acts and behaviors are often waged against women and men in the workplace. For those who encounter sexual harassment, coming forward can be difficult and requires much courage and strength.
A New Jersey school secretary recently filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against an interim principal at her school. In the lawsuit, the woman asserts that, for three months, she was the target of repeated sexual advances and inappropriate comments by the defendant while at work.
Detailed in the lawsuit are numerous occasions on which the defendant remarked on the plaintiff’s appearance and made sexual innuendos or propositioned her for sex. Additionally, the plaintiff contends the defendant physically crossed the line on more than one occasion from brushing his fingers across her thighs to grabbing her and pulling her hair.
An attorney for the defendant vehemently denies the allegations and any wrongdoing on the behalf of his client who is also a member of the city council. The plaintiff, however, is able to cite numerous incidences and to provide specific and damning details. It’s not yet clear whether or not there are witnesses who will be able to attest to the harassing and inappropriate behaviors and comments.
The woman recently filed a lawsuit in which she is seeking to recover both punitive and compensatory damages. Victims of sexual harassment often suffer tremendous emotional and mental pain and anguish as they must deal with the actual abuse and then wrestle with the difficult decision of whether or not to come forward.
Source: NorthJersey.com, “School secretary accuses Passaic councilman of sexual harassment in lawsuit,” John Petrick, Aug. 22, 2013