By Ricotta & Marks, P.C. on March 14th, 2022 in
Sexual harassment is a particularly devastating form of discrimination that can have lasting effects on an employee’s job and income prospects. Victims of sexual harassment are often subject to emotional distress, long-term adverse health consequences, and/or loss of employment. One of the most common forms of sexual harassment is called quid pro quo harassment, but what exactly does this mean?
At Ricotta & Marks, P.C. we have represented countless victims of sexual harassment. Not only do we understand how to identify this ubiquitous form of harassment, but we also have great experience in advocating for its victims. If you were a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you may be able to seek legal recourse. Consider speaking with an experienced Ricotta & Marks, P.C. sexual harassment lawyer at 347-321-8895 to learn more about your options.
What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
The terminology “quid pro quo” is derived from Latin, referring to an exchange of goods or services. In the context of sexual harassment, therefore, quid pro quo is used to talk about instances where a sexual favor is offered or requested in return for something. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is illegal under the city, state, and federal legislation. Regardless of its illegality, however, it is an exceedingly common form of sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is most often perpetrated by a coworker, boss, or manager who holds a position of power of an employee. This is because power and authority are typically at the crux of quid pro quo sexual harassment, manifesting as an authority figure taking advantage of subordinate’s desire to elevate their career. Given the power dynamic, victims can feel vulnerable and unsure of how to hold their perpetrators accountable. For this reason, it is common to involve a sexual harassment attorney as an objective third party to advocate for the victim’s rights.
Many behaviors and actions can be considered quid pro quo harassment and some of the most frequent incidents include:
- A hiring manager offering a job applicant a position in exchange for a date
- A boss altering a performance evaluation if the employee agrees to engage in sexual acts
- An executive offering an employee a raise if they comply with sexual demands
- An employer terminating an employee for refusing to provide sexual favors
- A supervisor purposely writing a poor performance review because an employee would not agree to a date
In essence, if an individual feels pressured to engage in sexual acts in exchange for a career-related benefit, they may be a victim. If you have experienced harassment in the workplace and you are asking “what is quid pro quo sexual harassment?” Ricotta & Marks, P.C. lawyers can help.
How Does Quid Pro Quo Harassment Differ From Hostile Work Environment Claims?
In employment discrimination and harassment cases, it can be difficult to differentiate between quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment situations. While we have answered “what is quid pro quo sexual harassment?” you may be wondering how these claims differ from hostile work environment cases.
There are two primary differences that may be present between the two types of cases, namely:
- Hostile work environment claims do not require an employment benefit being put at risk
- Quid pro quo cases have a specific target, while hostile work environments can be felt even by employees who were not the target of the discriminatory behavior
For behavior to be consistent with a hostile work environment claim, it must be:
- Disruptive to the victim’s work
- Known to the employer
In these cases, it is often true that the employer was aware of the hostile work environment yet they did not adequately attempt to put an end to it. This differs from quid pro quo harassment, which may not be known to anyone other than the victim and perpetrator, and may have only occurred one time or a handful of times, in private.
How Ricotta & Marks, P.C. Sexual Harassment Lawyers Can Help
If you were a victim of sexual harassment, you may be unsure of where to turn for help. These feelings are not uncommon. At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., our team of experienced sexual harassment lawyers have represented victims, ensuring that they are treated fairly under the law and compensated to the fullest extent. Call us today at 347-321-8895 to learn how we can advocate for you.