Defining Quid Pro Quo Harassment

California and federal law recognize two different types of harassment that can occur in the workplace — creating a hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. If an employee is subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, they may have a claim against their employer for damages. An experienced employment law attorney is your best chance at receiving compensation after a sexual harassment incident. To learn more, talk to a lawyer in your area today.

Defining Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo literally means “this for that,” and this type of harassment occurs when an employee is asked for sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits. Employment benefits can mean positive outcomes, such as a promotion, raise, vacation time, and additional benefits, but it can also mean avoiding adverse employment outcomes like termination, demotion, suspension, or a reduction in pay. The sexual advances can be explicit or implicit, and it also applies to applicants subjected to quid pro quo in exchange for employment.

This type of harassment is usually more hidden than a hostile work environment complaint and is used by someone in a position of power to gain or maintain power over their victim. Quid pro quo harassment that occurs between a supervisor, manager, or any employee with higher status within the company and a subordinate can result in strict liability for the employer when it comes to damages.

Harmful Effects of Quid Pro Quo Harassment

When an employee or applicant is subjected to quid pro quo harassment in the workplace, it can have damaging effects physically, mentally, and emotionally on the victim. Physical impacts include sleep disturbance, eating disorders, fatigue, headaches, and high levels of stress. Mentally, quid pro quo harassment can result in depression, anxiety, a loss of motivation, substance abuse coping mechanisms, panic attacks, and post traumatic stress disorder. Emotionally, this type of harassment can cause a victim to feel anger, fear, betrayal, humiliation, shame, and powerlessness. Employees and applicants affected by quid pro quo harassment deserve to be compensated for the harm caused by these actions.

Compensation for Quid Pro Quo Harassment

People victimized by quid pro quo sexual harassment are entitled to compensation for any damage caused by this behavior. Damages can include compensation for lost wages, lost benefits, and the loss of advancement opportunities as well as damages for emotional distress and other noneconomic harm caused by the harassment. If a victim was retaliated against because of their refusal of these sexual advances, they may also be reinstated or transferred back into the position they were in prior to the harassment. For the most egregious cases of sexual harassment, the court may also order punitive damages, which go above and beyond compensatory damages and are meant to punish the employer for their wrongdoing in addition to serve as a deterrent to others who would consider similar actions.

Call or Contact a Lawyer Now

If you or someone you know has been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, call or contact an experienced employment lawyer in your area today.