On August 7, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the “Cleanup Bill”. This new law will make it easier for victims to sue a municipality and public officials in cases involving sexual misconduct. The law also can also hold public entities and employers liable for their negligent hiring, retention or supervision of a public employee engaged in sexual misconduct.
Traditionally, municipalities were immune from civil liability under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act unless the public entity or employer was willfully, wantonly or grossly negligent act in connection with the hiring or supervision of a public employee found guilty of a sexual assault or any other crime of a sexual nature. The law also states that a victim of sexual abuse involving a public entity or public employee shall have the ability to sue their abusers up until the age of 55, or within seven years of their realization that the abuse caused them harm.
The law now subjects municipalities to the same standards as private entities and their employees. It should force municipal officials to be more circumspect in the hiring process and more diligent in the supervision of the workplace. It also affords those who have suffered a greater opportunity to achieve justice.
Should you have any questions concerning this new legislation feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable lawyers to ensure that your rights are adequately protected.