Most New Jersey residents have probably heard that a New Jersey woman has filed an ethics complaint alleging that state Sen. Nicholas Sacco engaged in sexual harassment over a two-year period, from 2003 to 2005.
According to a news report, the woman worked as a municipal employee in North Bergen, the town of which the Senator also happens to be mayor. She says she spurned unwanted sexual advances from Sacco at a bar in February 2003; and, after this the Senator left four threatening voicemail messages for her that she recorded and supplied with the complaint. The recordings have now been disseminated through the media as well. The woman further alleges that the objectionable behavior continued on the job, reportedly creating a hostile work environment which forced her to finally leave the well-paying job in 2005.
A spokesperson for the Senator has countered that the tape recordings appear doctored, according to the news report. The spokesperson also claimed the woman is facing financial difficulties that call into question her credibility. He further asserted the complainant has been assisted by political rivals of the Senator.
It remains to be seen what the result of this ethics complaint will be and whether the accusations are truthful. An investigation will likely ensue and we will learn whether the alleged acts form a legal basis for a sexual harassment lawsuit. Both parties will understandably rely on experienced legal advice as this dispute proceeds in New Jersey. Regardless of the outcome of this case, it should serve as a reminder to people who are victimized in the workplace that there are legal avenues to address objectionable conduct.
Source: NJ.com, "Secaucus woman accuses state Sen. Nicholas Sacco of sexual harassment," Jarrett Renshaw, Dec. 19, 2011