Quid pro quo harassment is arguably the most severe type of workplace sexual harassment. Despite this, it happens every day, all across the country and here at home.
If you’re a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you have grounds for legal action against your employer. Let’s talk more about this type of harassment and your rights under the law.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Defined
Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning “something for something” or “this for that.” In a sexual harassment context, quid pro quo takes many forms, both explicit and implicit.
- A tangible employment action, such as termination, resulting from an employee’s refusal to submit to a superior’s sexual demands.
- The threat of an employment decision, like a demotion, if an employee rejects a supervisor’s sexual demands.
- Sexual advances, made by a supervisor, in the context of discussing a pay raise or promotion with an employee.
An example of quid pro quo harassment is a supervisor making an unwanted sexual advance towards an employee. When the employee rebukes the supervisor, the supervisor says “I thought you liked you this job. You know, jobs like this one are hard to find these days.”
Unlike other forms of sexual harassment, only one incidence of quid pro quo must take place to establish grounds for a claim. Another key thing about quid pro quo is that employers can be found legally liable for their supervisors’ actions.
This is because the law considers supervisors to be acting on their employers’ behalf. Also, you can still make a sexual harassment claim if you ultimately submitted to your supervisor’s advances.
Speak up Without Fear
Are you worried your employer will retaliate if you charge them with sexual harassment? Rest easy – you’re protected.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from retaliating against those who file sexual harassment claims. This law also protects employees who participate in an investigation on behalf of a co-worker who’s rights may have been violated.
Do not be afraid to speak up if you, or a co-worker, are victims of quid pro quo harassment.
Taking the First Step
If you’re a victim of workplace sexual harassment, there are several steps you should take to address the matter with your employer.
- Document what happened, when and who was involved.
- Review your company’s sexual harassment policy.
- Report the harassment to your employer through the proper channels.
- If you’re a union employee, consider filing a formal grievance
The sexual harassment claims process starts by filing a complaint. This is done through your state’s labor protection agency and/or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The only way you can file suit in federal or state court is by filing a formal complaint – first.
Protect Your Rights
Quid pro quo harassment cases are not always cut and dry. It takes an experienced sexual harassment attorney to review your case and advise you of your legal rights.