Quid pro quo comes from Latin and means to exchange one thing for another. While the phrase may be appropriate in a variety of circumstances, it is never appropriate when used in reference to benefits in the workplace.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is when an employer or supervisor asks for or suggests through conduct that an employee exchange sexual favors in return for benefits at work.
What Constitutes Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is comprised of the following:
- Any physical or verbal suggestion of a sexual nature;
- That an employee’s acceptance or rejection of a supervisor or employer’s sexual advances; and
- Will be used as part of an employment decision.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment does not require the supervisor or employer to state or imply any workplace benefits or punishment that relies on an employee’s response to their sexual advances at the time of the unwanted conduct. It only requires that an employee show that compliance with any sexual advances was used as part of an employment decision.
Although a job applicant is not yet an employee, quid pro quo sexual harassment expands to cover them when any hiring decision is based on the receipt of sexual favors.
Are Employee Benefits the Only Tool Used by Employers in Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
Employers and supervisors typically use sexual favors in return for employee benefits in quid pro quo sexual harassment.
These benefits may include the following:
- Favorable performance reviews;
- Desirable work shifts;
- Raises; and
Other resources used by employers and supervisors in quid pro quo sexual harassment are adverse employment actions such as:
- Poor performance reviews;
- Pay cuts; and
Whether an employer or supervisor uses benefits or adverse actions against an employee, quid pro quo sexual harassment is prohibited by both federal and California state laws.
Is it Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment or a Hostile Work Environment?
Quid pro quo sexual harassment requires an employee’s job to be negatively impacted by their reaction to an employer or supervisor’s sexual advances. If an employer or supervisor does not follow through with any implicit or explicit threats to an employee’s job, then an employee may have a different type of sexual harassment claim.
A hostile work environment claim can be a type of sexual harassment claim. In a hostile work environment, there are frequent, unwelcome comments and even contact, of a sexual nature. However, there is no risk to an employee’s benefits.
These claims rely on important legal distinctions. It is prudent to have an experienced California workplace discrimination attorney review your claim before moving forward legally.
Legal Remedies for Victims of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
There are legal remedies for victims of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Victims who can prove they suffered damages due to their supervisor or employer’s actions may be compensated for any of the following:
- Lost wages;
- Lost benefits;
- Lost opportunities;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Emotional distress.
Victims may even be reinstated to their former position if they choose. If you would like to discuss your claim and any damages to which you may be entitled, contact an experienced California workplace discrimination attorney.
Contact an Experienced California Workplace Discrimination Attorney Today
If you believe you are a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, contact The Armstrong Law Firm today. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can happen to anyone in the workplace at any time, regardless of their gender.
Do not subject yourself to victimization, harassment, or degradation in the workplace. Speak with a compassionate workplace discrimination attorney at The Armstrong Law Firm to learn more about quid pro quo sexual harassment and standing up for your legal rights.