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Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

 Posted on June 04, 2018 in Workplace Sexual Harassment

Pittsburgh sexual harassment attorneysIn the last blog entry, we discussed hostile work environment sexual harassment. In this entry, we will look at the second type of sexual harassment in the workplace, quid pro quo harassment. The Latin phrase “quid pro quo” roughly translates to "something for something." When an employer or supervisor offers work benefits in exchange for sexual favors, he or she is guilty of quid pro quo harassment.

Examples of Quid Pro Quo

Although this type of sexual harassment happens less frequently than hostile work environment harassment, it can be just as demeaning, unprofessional, and abusive. There are several ways that quid pro quo harassment can take place. A manager may approach a subordinate employee and ask him or her out on a date. If the employee denies the manager, the manager could imply that the employee will lose his or her job if they do not comply. Another instance of quid pro quo harassment occurs when a person in authority either directly states or even just implies that he or she will give his or her subordinate special work privileges in exchange for sexual acts or affection. Even someone not yet an employee who is only interviewing for a position can be a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment. If an employer suggests or says that a job candidate must tolerate sexual behavior in order to receive the job, that employer is guilty of sexual harassment.

Requirements for a Quid Pro Quo Harassment Claim

In order to successfully claim quid pro quo sexual harassment, the claimant, or person who was sexually harassed, must prove the following elements:

  • The claimant was either an employee or job candidate with the defendant company;
  • The alleged harasser is an agent or supervisor for the defendant company;
  • The alleged harasser made unsolicited sexual advances, said inappropriate sexual comments or remarks, or physically interacted with the claimant in a way that he or she did not welcome;
  • Being hired as an employee or other workplace benefits were conditioned on the claimant’s acceptance of the alleged harasser's sexual behavior;
  • The claimant was harmed by the alleged harassment; and
  • The harassing behavior was a significant factor in causing the claimant’s harm.

It is important to note several things: The alleged harasser does not have to specifically state that a sexual favor is required to receive a workplace perk or to be hired for a job. When determining if sexual harassment did occur, courts will look for proof that the alleged sexual harassment caused a major employment action. This could include the claimant being unjustifiably fired or demoted, passed over for a promotion, given significant work benefits, or being hired over another candidate. An individual can still file a sexual harassment claim even if he or she complied with the alleged harasser’s sexual requests.

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, do not wait to contact an experienced Pittsburgh sexual harassment lawyer for legal guidance. Call 412-680-7877 to schedule a cost-free initial consultation today.



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