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Quid pro quo: when boss makes harassment condition of employment

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2014 | Sexual Harassment At Work

Did you know that 80 percent of female farmworkers have experienced sexual harassment while on the job? That data was derived from a study conducted in 2010. It certainly isn’t in their job descriptions, but some employers end up making the hostile working environment a condition of employment.

How is enduring a hostile work environment turned into a condition of employment? It is done by way of something referred to as quid pro quo sexual harassment. This type of harassment involves making an employment benefit contingent upon a sexual act. In some cases, as it was with one farmworker, the benefit that is withheld could be the employee’s wages.

In this case, the woman lived in a company trailer with her husband and her son. All three of them worked in the fields. As with many farmworkers, this woman’s livelihood was dependent on the individual crewleader that both paid and employed the small group. This crewleader would wait until the husband left the home. Then, he’d visit the wife against her wishes.

In some cases, the crewleader withheld this woman’s pay. After she could no longer take the sexual harassment, she complained to the company’s human resources department. In return, this wife, her husband and her son each lost their job.

In Florida, in an attempt to prevent the sexual harassment that reportedly occurs all too often in the farm and the fast food industries, The Fair Food Code of Conduct was negotiated. This code of conduct not only includes proactive education but also reactive enforcement.

For example, tomato growers that are caught violating this act through physical harassment can have their tomato purchases restricted for a minimum of three months when no corrective actions are taken.

Workers in all industries can seek the assistance of an employment law attorney in Boca Raton when they believe that their rights have been violated. Relief is available under both state and federal laws for victims of sexual harassment.