With the increased awareness of workplace harassment issues generated by the #MeToo movement, companies must establish well-written, formal policies that outline the rights and obligations of all employees and supervisors and define unacceptable behaviors.
According to McCarter partner Tom Doherty, who focuses on employment litigation and counseling on behalf of management, New Jersey employers must be especially vigilant because they are bound by the Law Against Discrimination (LAD). He explained that the LAD “is one of the broadest antidiscrimination laws in the country,” and that it “goes further than federal law in setting forth legally protected characteristics by, among other things, expressly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”
In addition to preventing sex-based harassment, Tom explained that the LAD statute lists several other traits that employers must consider. These include harassment or discrimination “based on race, creed, color, national origin, age, ancestry, nationality, marital or domestic partnership or civil union status, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, disability, liability for military service, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical cellular or blood trait, and genetic information.”