Employer Off The Hook For Co-Worker Harassment Claims Thanks To Its Anti-Harassment Policies, New Jersey Appellate Division Holds

In Mann v. Staples, Inc., 2012 WL 3101310 (App. Div. August 1, 2012), a case argued by an attorney in Ogletree Deakins’ New York office, the New Jersey Appellate Division dismissed a female employee’s NJLAD discrimination claims against her employer notwithstanding that her co-worker allegedly subjected her to several bouts of unwelcome sexual harassment over the course of several months—a kiss on the cheek, crude sexual comments, and an attempted grope of her breast. According to the Appellate Division, the employer was not liable for the alleged untoward conduct because it had in place a comprehensive anti-harassment policy and complaint process which sprang into action and addressed the situation. According to the Appellate Division, “defendant had a specific policy prohibiting sexual harassment; trained its management personnel on these policies; made available a defined and publicized procedure for a victim to present harassment complaints; completed a detailed process to investigate those complaints; and followed through with identifiable remedial and corrective action.”

Note: This article was published in the September 2012 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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