Quid pro quo involves exchanging one favor for another. Sometimes quid pro quo sexual harassment happens in the workplace. In Latin, quid pro quo means 'something for something'. For an occurrence to be considered quid pro quo, a job benefit will need to be directly related to an employee submitting to unwelcome advances. It can only occur when the harasser is someone who holds authority or power over the person they are harassing.
What Makes Harassment Quid Pro Quo Harassment?
There are different elements that must occur to have your sexual harassment qualify as quid pro quo sexual harassment. This includes:
- You and your harasser are employees of the same company.
- Your harasser was a supervisor or in a position of power at the time of the incident.
- Your harasser made unwanted sexual advances. These can be verbal or physical.
- Specific benefits related to your job were leveraged by submitting to the harassment. Any employment decisions were influenced on if you accepted or rejected the harassment.
If you submit to the requests by your harasser, you are still able to file a claim. Regardless of if you submitted or not, you will need to show that you were harmed by the actions.
Examples of Quid Pro Quo
A manager or supervisor may make unwanted sexual advances and then offer a pay raise, promotion, better schedule, or something work-related in return for sexual favors. If you have been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you can pursue a sexual harassment claim against your employer.
As an example, you are highly qualified for a job and you are called for an interview. When you go into interview, you are told that you will be hired for the job if you complete the inappropriate sexual request of the hiring manager.
Another scenario could involve your manager promoting you and giving you a considerable pay raise if you will do “favors” for them, such as date them or have sex with them.
When quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs, your employer is not creating a safe, comfortable workplace which they are required to do. Instead, they are creating a hostile and intimidating work environment.
This could also be considered as an abuse of power. You have rights and protections and you can take legal action against your employer for such behavior.
When a manager abuses power, you are negatively affected. It can impact your well-being, your work performance and your productivity.
Some examples of benefits a harasser may say you receive from submitting include:
- pay increases
- new job opportunities
- training opportunities
- new shifts or work assignments
You don’t have to accept such treatment and behavior. There are laws in place that protect you from such mistreatment, and you do have rights. There are various resources available to help you get your claim against your employer for sexual harassment on track.
What To Do If You Suffer Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
If you have been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you should act promptly. Time to pursue a claim against your employer is limited. You should report the incident to a higher level member of management, or the company owner. You will need to provide supporting evidence and documentation for your claim as well.
Gather any physical or digital evidence that may be available. This might be surveillance video or an audio recording.
If there are any witnesses, statements from them could be very helpful to your claim because they can corroborate your story.
There could be other individuals who have suffered from the same situation, and statements from those individuals could be very helpful for your claim against your employer.
Filing a Quid Pro Quo Harassment Claim with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC)
By filing your complaint, you could help keep other people from being the victim of the same behavior and harassment. If your company’s higher management or human resources department doesn’t prevent the behavior from occurring again, or if they don’t take the matter seriously, you should advance a complaint to the EEOC.
The EEOC will accept a complaint online or in person. You can schedule an appointment with an EEOC employee or talk with one over the phone to get more information about the claims process or to determine the best way to proceed with your claim.
They will work to get the issue resolved, and if they cannot get the matter resolved, or if they believe laws were intentionally and blatantly broken, then you may be directed to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover compensation for your damages.
How An Employment Law Attorney Can Help
If you have been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you should consult with an employment law attorney who handles sexual harassment cases in your area.
An employment law attorney is likely familiar with both state and federal laws, so they may know the best way to handle your case and how to proceed with the matter. The attorney may determine the extent of your damages and may work to ensure that you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected.
Usually, you have 180 days from the date of the harassment to pursue a claim against your employer. If you wait too long, you will not be able to pursue a claim.
With the guidance of an attorney, you may be much more likely to have a successful claim and recoup compensation for your damages. Your damages may include lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and so forth.
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