Protecting employee rights and businesses' well-being

Every employee expects, or should expect, that his or her boss will provide a safe and respectful work environment. But some employers allow or enable conduct that violates their workers' legal rights and threaten their well-being. These situations can include physical touching and assaults, inappropriate comments or jokes, excessive yelling or swearing, less desirable job assignments, or other offensive conduct.

I had to leave my job because of a male boss who bullied and harassed women. He was a co-owner of the business, so there was nowhere to go to complain. And there was no policy to guide me. On my very last day, the verbal abuse and bullying was so bad that I had to call the police for help. When I first saw Mike Farhi, I was traumatized and afraid. But I wanted compensation for what I suffered - emotional stress and the loss of my job, just because I'm a woman. Mike took my case. Over long weeks of hard negotiations, he presented my claims of sexual harassment and got me a very good settlement, which included monetary benefits, continued health benefits and help in moving forward. I'd highly recommend Mike Farhi to any victim of harassment and discrimination. S.G.

Dealing with real and potential hostile work environments and on-the-job discrimination, to help both employees and businesses, is what we do at Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis & Farhi, LLP. That includes analyzing situations to see if legal action - or "preventive action" - against or by an employer makes sense. An equally important decision is whether filing a lawsuit, settling a claim, or using other options to resolve a problem is the best choice. Every person and situation is different, so there are no "one size fits all" solutions.

Implementing policies benefit both employer and employees

Businesses that put in place - and enforce - sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policies create a safe and protective work environment. This reduces potential for negative working situations, and provides for a safe environment for the employee to report any issues, allowing for a quicker resolution to the situation. All in all, it's "good business."

What is a hostile work environment claim?

A hostile work environment is a form of unlawful discrimination and can arise from harassment based on:

  • Gender or sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • National origin and nationality
  • Medical/mental conditions, including pregnancy and mental illness

To be the basis of legal action in New Jersey and New York, workplace harassment also has to be "severe" or "pervasive" - severe meaning the offensiveness of the action or actions and pervasive meaning their frequency. One severe act of sexual or other harassment or frequent less severe acts may create hostile work environments and be the basis for legal action.

Have you been harassed?

Sexual harassment, for example, can take many forms. It can be direct or indirect (i.e. e-mail, text, etc.), unwelcome or unsolicited comments, advances, or suggestions, that are sexual in nature that come from a superior or a co-worker. are considered sexual harassment. There's often a fear of reporting, because it can be embarrassing and - with some employers - lead to retaliation. We understand that these sensitive situations must be handled with compassion for our clients and aggressiveness in fighting for their rights.

A business that doesn't respect these legal rights gives its employees options. Our firm has the resources and the experience for strong and effective representation inside and outside the courtroom, whether it's skillful negotiation or vigorous litigation. To help our clients handle their claims, we offer flexible fee arrangements, depending on their needs and financial circumstances.