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Understanding quid pro quo in the context of sexual harassment

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Sexual Harassment At Work

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Every employee has a legal right to work without being subjected to any form of harassment whatsoever. Unfortunately, thousands of sexual harassment cases are reported at work each year. Workplace harassment is illegal under both state and federal law. If you are sexually harassed at work, you can sue the responsible party for damages.

However, in order to file a successful claim, it helps to understand the form of sexual harassment you are dealing with. Basically, sexual harassment at work comes in two forms: a hostile workplace and quid pro qui.

So how does quid pro quo happen in the workplace?

Quid pro quo” loosely translates to “something in return for something.” In the context of workplace harassment, it means that someone, usually a higher authority like the supervisor or your boss, offers something related to your work in return for sexual relations. An example of quid pro quo would be your boss promising a promotion or pay rise if you agree to date them. It is important to understand that this is illegal.

Quid pro quo can also come in the form of a threat. An example would be a situation where your supervisor threatens to give you a poor appraisal rating if you turn down their sexual advances. It can also happen during the recruitment process if the person conducting the interview promises you a job offer if you are willing to have sexual relations with them.

Proving quid pro quo?

To win your claim, you will need to prove the following:

  • You were employed or were seeking employment at the organization
  • The perpetrator was employed by the organization or was its agent
  • The harassment was verbal, physical or in writing, and it was unwanted
  • The perpetrator made specific job-related promises on the condition that you would have sexual relations with them
  • You were harmed by the perpetrator’s conduct or sexual advance

Workplace sexual harassment hurts both employers and employees alike. Find out how you can safeguard your rights if you are sexually harassed at work.