Exclusively Employment Law

How does quid pro quo harassment happen at work?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2022 | Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace is still a major problem. Besides hurting victims’ self-esteem and productivity, sexual harassment also hurts the organization’s reputation and bottom line. 

One of the most common forms of sexual harassment at work is quid pro quo harassment. Basically, quid pro quo (“something for another”) is a form of sexual harassment that is based on the exchange of one “favor” for another. 

Quid pro quo harassment can take any of the following forms:

There are all kinds of ways for this kind of harassment, but here are a few examples:

  • The hiring manager or employer requests sexual favors from an employee so they can be hired, promoted, receive a pay rise or receive other work-related opportunities.
  • A supervisor or business owner threatens to fire, transfer, demote or subject the employee to some other negative treatment if they do not yield to the demand for sexual relations.
  • An employer offers to help an employee advance their career and make connections — in exchange for a night in a hotel together.

What should you do if you are sexually harassed at work?

It is important that you start off by making a formal complaint with either California or the federal labor protection agency. If you opt to file a complaint with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), then you will have 180 days from the date of the incident to do so. 

While submitting your complaint, it is important that you are as comprehensive as possible. Be sure to document exactly what happened, where and when it happened and any witnesses to the incident. If you have any correspondence with the perpetrator (mail, text or phone records), be sure to provide them as well. 

If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, do not tolerate the behavior. Knowing your legal options can help you pursue the damages you are entitled to following the harassment.