If you’re like many people who have been sexually harassed in the workplace (get the full sexual harassment definition here), you may be considering filing a sexual harassment lawsuit. When you talk to an attorney about your situation, he or she will ask you several questions – including what type of harassment you suffered and what’s happening now.
One type of sexual harassment is called quid pro quo – and it may have been what you experienced.
What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is a type of harassment that involves one person offering some type of benefit in exchange for some form of sexual favor. In Latin, the term quid pro quo means “this for that.”
Usually, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs between a supervisor and a subordinate. That’s because the supervisor has the power to provide a reward or create an adverse action, depending on how the other person receives his or her sexual advances.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Examples
If you’re not sure whether you’ve been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, here are a few examples to help you.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Example #1: Requesting Sexual Favors for Hiring
Steve goes to a job interview, where the interviewer begins asking him personal questions that may or may not make him feel uncomfortable (but don’t relate to the job at all). She comes out from behind her desk and sits on the edge of his chair, puts her hand on his shoulder, and says, “If I give you this job, we could spend a lot of after-hours time together,” in a sexually suggestive way.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Example #2: Threatening to Terminate Someone if Sexual Favors Stop
Two people – one supervisor, one employee – are in a consensual sexual relationship. The supervisor feels like the employee is losing interest in the relationship, so he or she threatens to fire the employee if the relationship ends.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Example #3: Promising a Raise for Sexual Favors
Heather’s boss makes his interest in her very clear, but Heather has always shut down his advances. However, he offers her a raise (or promotion) if she’ll agree to go out with him because he’s “just so sure” they’ll hit it off.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Example #4: Expecting Sexual Favors for Benefits
Kerry’s boss buys her a ticket to the company’s annual getaway and suggests she can pay him back later for it by way of sexual favors. This scenario could include any number of other benefits, as well, including giving Kerry a more favorable assignment or giving her a company car.
Examples of Employment Benefits Often Offered in Quid Pro Quo Harassment Cases
Some benefits supervisors might offer in quid pro quo sexual harassment can include:
- Desirable work shifts or assignments
- Favorable performance reviews
- Favorable transfers
Examples of Negative Work Consequences Often Threatened in Quid Pro Quo Harassment Cases
Some negative work consequences supervisors might threaten (or go through with) can include:
- An unmanageable or undesirable work schedule
- Poor performance reviews
- Unfavorable transfers
What is Not Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
It can be difficult to determine whether you were a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment in some cases. Your best bet is to provide your attorney with all the facts and get his or her legal take on the situation. It’s important that you know that even if you’re involved in a consensual relationship, you could be dealing with this type of harassment.
Here’s a quick list of things that don’t count as quid pro quo sexual harassment, although they may be wrong in other ways:
- Sexual harassment that doesn’t include “this for that”
- A “this for that” exchange that is not sexual in nature
- A consensual relationship between employees who can’t influence each other’s employment
- A consensual relationship between a superior and a subordinate that doesn’t have any effect – or any anticipated effect – on employment decisions
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About These Quid Pro Quo Harassment Examples or Your Own Case?
If you think you’ve been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, we may be able to help you. Even one incident is illegal – you don’t have to have multiple incidents to report.
Call us at 818-230-8380 for a free case review. We’ll answer your questions and talk about possible outcomes of your case, as well as give you the legal advice you need.