No person should have to tolerate abusive language or threatening behavior from co-workers in or outside of the workplace. It is a sad reality, however, that many employees are subjected to poor treatment by their bosses and become victims of harassment or gender discrimination. The former female employee of a judge in New Jersey went to the police recently to report verbal threats he had made towards her.
The 44-year-old woman used to work for the judge, who was a partner in a law firm in North Haledon, New Jersey. After the partnership went sour, the woman decided to stay on as an employee of his former partner. The judge allegedly confronted her at the office, where he shouted at her and belittled her. Later that day, the woman received a late night phone call from her former employer. She claims that he directed vulgar language towards her and threatened to have her “locked up” if she did not stay away from his office.
The woman filed reports with local police on the same day that the state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct began disciplinary action against the New Jersey judge. He is accused of violating several rules of conduct, including making political contributions, neglecting to report his part in 43 civil lawsuits and representing police officers in civil and criminal proceedings. The judge’s lawyer has denied the allegations.
The judge has now taken a voluntary unpaid leave from his positions as municipal judge in North Haledon, Wanaque, Ringwood and Haledon until an outcome is reached in his disciplinary hearing.
The police report states that the woman wanted the incident to be reported, but no criminal charges have yet been filed. However, the Chief of Police to whom she reported the allegations said that people often bring their concerns to police in order to document their complaint. Often, these reports of harassment and potential gender discrimination do not result in the police referring the case to municipal court. Harassment at work is all too common, despite there being both federal and state laws in place to protect employees. Far too many people suffer in silence in this situation, afraid about what will happen if they report their concerns. However, there is a way out for victims. People who have been subjected to harassment or discrimination while at work may be able to bring legal action against the perpetrator.
Source: The Record, “North Jersey municipal judge accused of harassing former employee,” John C. Ensslin, 29 June 2011.