What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?

What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment

In Latin, quid pro quo means to get something for giving something. When it occurs in the workplace, quid pro quo harassment involves a supervisory figure hinting at or offering to give something the employee wants in exchange for satisfying the supervisor’s sexual demands. It may also occur in the reverse when a manager or supervisor tells an employee that the supervisor will not reprimand or fire the employee if the employee performs a sexual favor. Finally, job applicants may also be the victims of this form of harassment if the offer of employment is hinged on the applicants’ rejection or acceptance of sexual advances. An example might include a manager touching an applicant in a suggestive manner and saying, “Do you want this job?” if the applicant objects. When workers or applicants suffer from this type of sexual harassment, they should seek consultations with the attorneys at Swartz Swidler to learn about their rights.

The elements of claim of quid pro quo harassment

In order for a plaintiff to prove his or her harassment claim, he or she must be able to prove all of the following elements:

  • That he or she was an employee or applicant of the defendant driver
  • That the harasser was an employee or agent in a supervisory role of the company
  • That the harasser made unwanted sexual advances or engaged in other physical or verbal conduct that was sexual and unwanted
  • That job benefits were conditioned on the plaintiff’s acceptance of the sexual advances
  • Or that the hiring decision was based on the plaintiff’s acceptance or rejection of the advances
  • That the plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the conduct

Courts want to be shown proof that a significant job action resulted from the sexual harassment such as being fired or not promoted. Even if an employee gave in to the unwanted sexual advances, he or she may still file a claim.

Potential damages

Plaintiffs may be able to recover damages to compensate them for their lost wages, benefits or employment opportunities. They may also be able to recover damages for emotional distress and to be reinstated to their jobs. In egregious cases, punitive damages may be awarded in order to discourage the defendant from committing or allowing sexual harassment in the future, but they are not common.

Typically, a quid pro quo harassment complaint must be filed with the state or federal labor agency. Claimants must file their claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days. An attorney with the law firm of Swartz Swidler may help you with filing your claim, and he or she may work to recover the maximum possible amount on your behalf.