While many New Jersey employers and employees may have an idea of what sexual harassment is, it is difficult to arrive at one accepted definition of the behavior that constitutes it. The definition of sexual harassment may vary by industry and company policy, with some fields more tolerant of behavior that would be considered problematic in a different work environment.
Before 1986, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sexual harassment at the workplace violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, workplace sexual harassment was not recognized at all. Generations of working women had instead been taught that suggestive comments and unwanted advances were just part of having jobs. Since the court's ruling, employers across the country have struggled to define sexual harassment as they write their companies' sexual harassment policies.