Employment Discrimination Blog

Monday, April 8, 2019

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace can be particularly stressful because it will not only make you feel uncomfortable, but can also place you in fear that your job may be in jeopardy if you do not handle the situation properly. It comes in many forms, but sexual harassment at work creates a toxic environment. Reporting this kind of behavior might make you afraid of what will happen to your employee status, but know that there are legal protections in place to shield you from backlash you may suffer. The Atlanta employment discrimination attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC stand up for employees who have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. We hold your employer accountable for what has gone on and seek reparations on your behalf.

What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

In Latin, quid pro quo means “something for something.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to a situation where an employee or job applicant is sexually solicited and made to think that failure to comply with the sexual request will either result in an adverse employment action or result in a failure to receive a positive employment action. It is a violation of both state law and also of federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These laws are in place because no one should be punished for rejecting unwanted sexual advances, especially not in the workplace.

There are several scenarios that can involve quid pro quo sexual harassment. For instance, a supervisor may have promised you a raise, a positive employment review, or a promotion if you submit to a sexual act. Alternatively, a supervisor may have threated a negative employment action such as termination, demotion, or a negative employment review if you failed to comply with a sexual request. Either way, this is quid pro quo sexual harassment. A common example of quid pro quo sexual harassment is when a consensual relationship that has developed among employees comes to an end and one member of the previously existing relationship is fired by the other one.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is usually between a supervisor or manager and a subordinate. It can, however, occur between co-workers or even a customer and an employee. The harassment may come as a comment or an e-mail. The harassing conduct can also involve a suggestive look or an unwelcome touch. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can occur between people of the same gender or of different genders.

Employers are strictly liable for quid pro quo sexual harassment, but the burden rests on the employee to prove that the harassment occurred. The employee should be prepared to share that he or she suffered an adverse employment action or was denied a positive employment action due to a rejection of unwanted sexual advances.

Defending an Employees Right to a Workplace Free of Sexual Harassment

You have a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment and here at Pankey & Horlock, LLC we are proud to fight for this on behalf of our clients. If you have suffered from quid pro quo harassment in the workplace, contact us today.


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