The Asbury Park Press performed an investigation into the issue of sexual harassment within the state government, finding that millions of dollars are spent in settlements for this workplace harassment. They also found that many of the state employees' names in lawsuits are still in their job position or have retired with "lucrative" pensions.
From 2006 until mid-September of 2012, 913 sexual harassment complaints within state agencies were filed, according to New Jersey Civil Service Commission data. Overall, according the investigation, a third of these have been deemed valid by the state.
There have been 27 settlements from 2006 until late June 2012, with a total amount of $3.9 million in taxpayer dollars. The top department in terms of cost has been within the Department of Law and Public Safety, which includes the State Police. There have been four settlements with a total cost of $1 million. Settlements have averages about $145,000 each, but nine were for at least $200,000.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which tracks complaints in both the private and public sectors, sexual harassment complaints within state government have risen by nearly 10 percent since 2006.
Employees who feel that they have been sexually assaulted in the workplace may not know where to turn. The data suggests that, as the numbers are rising, many people may not feel comfortable pursuing the allegations within their departments. Speaking with an attorney who is experienced in employment law can offer different options in how to pursue the allegations while protecting the client from additional harassment in the form of retaliation.