Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

While sexual harassment happens in many forms and ways, quid pro quo is the most commonly recognized form of sexual harassment and it happens often in the workplace. Anyone – male or female – could be the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment in the workplace. What is quid pro quo sexual harassment? It is when employment, pay, benefits, title, position, or any other advancement opportunities happen under unwelcome sexual advances.

As an example, a manager may tell an employee that he or she will get a considerable raise if he or she will do sexual favors in return. Or, a manager may start a relationship with an employee and in turn, that employee may receive a promotion that other workers with seniority are qualified to do. Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens in all industries and in different work sites. It often goes unreported, so it isn’t punished, and it isn’t put to a stop.

Elements Of A Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Claim

If you have been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment in the workplace, you can file a claim. To file a successful claim, you will have to gather the necessary evidence and supporting documentation. Just as with any other court claim or case, the more supporting documentation and evidence that you have, the more likely you are to succeed with your claim and recover compensation for your damages. Here are some of the things that you will have to prove to have a successful quid pro quo sexual harassment claim:

  • The supervisor made inappropriate sexual advancements
  • Job benefits were compromised
  • The harasser causes harm to the individual

An example scenario would involve a female employee who is an administrative assistant. Her manager keeps asking her out, but she isn’t interested and turns him down. Since she refuses to date her manager, she is demoted to a clerical position that offers less pay and that has a less desirable working schedule. This causes financial harm to the employee because she isn’t getting her regular salary, and she is emotionally and mentally affected by the workplace treatment, the manager’s behavior, and the updated work schedule.

Employer Liability

Title VII holds employers liable for the behavior and actions of their supervisors, managers, and agents in the workplace. If you are the victim of sexual harassment quid pro quo, you should notify human resources or the property overseer right away. Your employer should have the opportunity to stop the harassment and to correct the issue. If the problem isn’t corrected, then you can file a lawsuit.

If you are harmed by the actions of the manager, supervisor, co-worker, or agent, then your employer may be liable for the damages. They are responsible for the proper training and oversight of their employees. So, in general, the court would believe that the company has a general idea of how an employee is acting and behaving when on the job. They should be aware of any prior infractions, and they should have properly responded to inappropriate behaviors in the workplace.

If they have reason to believe that an employee would sexually harass others, or if there have been prior reports of inappropriate behaviors, that employee should have been retrained or put in another position where they could not harass workers or supervise other employees. If this wasn’t done, this could be used as evidence in your favor and would make your employer liable for the damages you incurred.


If a company’s supervisors, managers, or agents are found guilty of quid pro quo sexual harassment, then the company is responsible for the damages. These damages may include compensatory damages. Other damages may include medical expenses – mental healthcare may be required – such as seeking help from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a therapist.

You may also ask to be compensated any backpay, which is for the time you were not working or from the time you were being paid less. This is from the date of the alleged harassment until the date that the court rules in your favor. Also, you can receive a future loss of earnings – this is especially true if you were fired from the position and will not receive your regular salary from this point on. Other damages may include mental anguish and the loss of enjoyment of life.

Consult With A Sexual Harassment Attorney

If you believe you have been sexually harassed by a supervisor, you should consult with an employment law attorney who is licensed to handle cases in your state. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to have the details of your case reviewed by an attorney who handles such cases in your area.

Additional Resources