The New Jersey Supreme Court issued a very significant decision on Wednesday regarding Sexual Harassment vicarious liability for employers. In Aguas v. New Jersey, the Court ruled that there is an affirmative defense available to employers where the employer exercised reasonable care “to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior.” The Court stated that this defense is intended to incentivize employers to actively implement and enforce anti-sexual harassment policies.
The Court interpreted prior precedent as requiring a fact specific inquiry in which the employer’s implementation of a meaningful anti-harassment policy, or its failure to do so, would be extremely important. In order to meet the requirements for this defense, employers will certainly need to demonstrate the implementation of an appropriate policy and the provision of training to all employees.
Cooper Levenson’s employment attorneys are well versed in the preparation of appropriate and lawfully compliant anti-sexual harassment policies, as well as the necessary training to meet this defense.