Federal and California laws explicitly forbid quid pro quo sexual harassment in the state of California — but what is it, and what should you do if you’ve been a victim of it?

What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment generally occurs when some kind of benefit is offered in exchange for some form of sexual favor.

The term quid pro quo is Latin for “this for that,” and that’s exactly what this type of harassment requires; it’s a way of saying, “you’ll get something if you do this for me.” It usually occurs between a supervisor and a subordinate, because the supervisor is in a position of power where he or she can provide a reward or some type of punishment.

Employment Benefits and Negative Work Consequences

The employment benefits offered in quid pro quo sexual harassment often include things such as:

  • Promotions
  • Raises
  • Favorable performance reviews
  • Recommendations
  • Desirable work shifts or assignments

The negative work consequences in this type of harassment can include:

  • Loss of a job
  • Poor performance reviews
  • Demotion
  • An unmanageable or undesirable work schedule

Examples of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

In many cases, it’s tough to tell that you’re the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment… at first. Many supervisors who engage in this illegal, immoral, and unethical behavior are subtle in the beginning. Your supervisor may:

  • Suggest that if you’re “friendly” or romantic, it would benefit your career
  • Promise you better work opportunities if you meet his or her sexual demands
  • Give or withhold benefits on the condition of you performing or allowing your supervisor to perform sexual acts

How Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment is Different From Other Forms

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is very different from other forms of sexual harassment, such as hostile work environment harassment. It involves giving something and expecting something in return, which can usually only occur between a boss and a subordinate — but in hostile work environment harassment, anyone can contribute to the harassment.

In either case, it’s probably in your best interest to talk to a Glendale and Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer who can help preserve your rights under California and federal law.

Reporting Sexual Harassment

Before you report sexual harassment, know that the law is on your side. You can’t be fired for complaining or reporting sexual harassment; if you are, it’s known as retaliation (which is also illegal).

In fact, it’s illegal to fire, demote, harass, or participate in any other form of retaliation against someone who reports discrimination or harassment to superiors, files charges for discrimination, or participates in an investigation or lawsuit.

Reporting quid pro quo sexual harassment (and other forms of harassment) is considered a protected activity.

Talking to Your Human Resources Department or Your Supervisor

In order to help you, your attorney will ask if you’ve filed any complaints with your company’s human resources department, your supervisor, or your supervisor’s boss (if the issue you have is with your direct supervisor).

It’s a good idea to make a formal complaint about the quid pro quo sexual harassment you’re experiencing before you talk to an attorney, but you can always call us for case-specific legal advice if you’re not sure how to proceed.

Keep track of your company’s responses (or their lack of responses) after you file a formal complaint — they may be very important if you decide to file a case with the courts. If your employer doesn’t take the appropriate action to protect you, you may have a case.

Could a Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help You?

A Glendale or Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can help you if you’re the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Nobody should have to fight these battles alone, and we’re here to validate your experience. We understand that victims of sexual harassment are never to blame — even if other people in the workplace make you feel like you’re at fault, you’re not.

Can You File a Lawsuit for Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in Los Angeles or Glendale?

You can take the alleged perpetrator to court for quid pro quo sexual harassment in the state of California. Even one incident of this type of harassment is illegal. In some cases, your employer can also be found legally liable; that’s because in many cases, supervisors are considered to act on the employer’s behalf.

Talk to a Glendale or Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Attorney Now

When someone sexually harasses you, it’s emotionally demanding. You may feel demeaned, belittled, or objectified; you may be extremely upset, scared, and even unsure if you can continue working in the same environment.

We’ll fight in your corner. We’ve helped people all over Glendale and throughout Los Angeles in situations similar to yours, and you’re not alone now.

Call us at 818-617-9706 or toll-free at 800-774-4163 for a free consultation with a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney. Your consultation is confidential, and we can give you case-specific legal advice that helps you move forward in a positive direction.