TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) — New Jersey Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, in conjunction with the state’s Division on Civil Rights, has announced a lawsuit against Kearny Auto Spa, alleging the Hudson County auto detailing business tolerated workplace sexual harassment of an employee and wrongfully fired her.
Kearny Auto Spa allegedly subjected the woman to a hostile work environment. Supervisors made crude comments about her sexual orientation and treated her differently based on her gender, while fellow line employees repeatedly propositioned her for sex, the state charges.
“In any employment setting, workers have a right to do their jobs without being subjected to inappropriate comments, solicitations for sex, and other harassment," Hoffman said. “Furthermore, employers have a responsibility to protect their employees from such harassment. Allegedly firing a worker because she reported the alleged conduct is an obvious abdication of that responsibility.”
Hoffman’s office and the Division of Civil Rights will seek lost wages, damages for mental and emotional stress and other costs, along with punitive damages for the employer’s alleged “willful” violation of discrimination laws.
“Public and private entities need to train their supervisors to address internal discrimination complaints,” said division director Craig Sashihara. “Employers should have a well-publicized workplace policy, effective complaint structure, training, enforcement and monitoring mechanisms. State and federal law make clear that employers who do not have a system to accept and investigate harassment complaints, proceed at their own risk.”