Quid pro quo harassment is a type of sexual harassment in the workplace recognized under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It occurs when a supervisor or person of higher rank requires an employee to perform sexual favors in order to keep their job or receive some type of job benefit.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment includes not only direct verbal requests, but also non-verbal communication and physical conduct.
Quid pro quo harassment can be distinguished from the other type of harassment recognized under Title VII, which is hostile work environment harassment.
Hostile work environment harassment does not have to involve a coworker of higher rank and refers to a situation where an employee feels uncomfortable in the workplace because a coworker engaged in sexual conduct which created an offensive atmosphere.
For quid pro quo harassment, a single incident is usually sufficient. However, a pattern of behavior is usually present for hostile work environment claims. Regardless, keep in mind that sexual harassment claims may sometimes involve both categories.
A classic example of quid pro quo sexual harassment is a supervisor offering their subordinate employee a promotion in exchange performing a sexual favor.
However, quid pro quo harassment can also include situations where an employee of higher rank takes the following actions if an employee refuses to engage in sexual activity:
As you can see, quid pro quo harassment can also involve threats to employees in order to coerce them into performing a sexual favor.
In such cases, a supervisor or other higher up employee uses their rank and power as leverage in order to intimidate the employee into complying with their request.
You should also keep in mind that if an employer fires you after you have filed a charge or lawsuit, you can also sue your employer for retaliatory discharge, as this is illegal.
If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace and wish to take legal action, you should contact a local employment lawyer. A lawyer will advise you of your rights and the next steps that you should take. A lawyer can also represent you in any legal proceedings that occur.
Last Modified: 06-21-2018 12:53 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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