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Groundbreaking New Law Restricts NJ Employment Agreements

When an employee brings credible, substantiated accusations of sexual harassment or discrimination in a workplace, their employer often settles discreetly for “an undisclosed sum of money” and an agreement to keep everything confidential. A law passed earlier this year in New Jersey declares that such confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements are against the greater interest of the public and, as such, unenforceable. Not only does the new law restrict settlement agreements, it significantly restricts the rights of employers to require that employees broadly waive rights related to pursuing discrimination, retaliation, or harassment claims that may arise during their employment. 

Legal Remedies for Sexual Harassment: What You May Recover

If you’ve suffered from gender-based discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace or endured a hostile work environment, you’re not alone. New Jersey employees are protected from sex-based harassment and discrimination by Title VII, the federal law prohibiting discrimination, as well as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). You may wonder, however, what kind of compensation you can actually recover from your employer or the individuals responsible for the harassment. 

Can #MeToo Lead to a Hostile Work Environment?

As the #MeToo movement brings workplace sexual harassment into the spotlight, some people are expressing concerns. As some employees speak up about their experiences and complaints, others can feel blamed, attacked, or otherwise uncomfortable. For employers, it’s important to develop protocols for properly handling these kinds of situations and ensuring that all employees have a safe working environment. 

I Told HR About My Workplace Harassment. Now What?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by both New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) and federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). In fact, employers have a legal obligation to their workers to take steps to protect them from all forms of workplace harassment. This includes establishing preventive measures to help minimize sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct, putting a system in place to allow employees to report harassment, and implementing remedial measures when harassment is reported.[1] When an employee reports harassment to HR, the employer has a responsibility to adequately investigate the allegations.[2] 

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