What Is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?
Quid pro quo harassment is the solicitation or exchange of sexual acts for hiring, promotions, or keeping a job. The quid pro quo does not need to be explicit; even hinting that sex will help the worker’s chances is enough to constitute quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo harassment can be used for any employment benefits, like:
- Obtaining a job
- Avoiding reprimand
- Avoiding termination
- Better projects
- Move to another department
- Preferential choice of clients
Quid pro quo harassment might be a hand on the thigh during an interview or talk of “agreeing to an arrangement” during a disciplinary meeting. It might even be a promotion or raise to keep quiet about rape or sexual harassment.
In this article, we will look at workplace quid pro quo harassment and the legal implications of a claim.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Claims
The claimants in a quid pro quo harassment claim need to prove the following things:
- That the claimant applied or worked at the company during the time of the alleged quid pro quo harassment.
- That the person harassing was an employee or officer in the company at the time and that they made unwanted sexual advances on the claimant. The sexual harassment could be physical or verbal in nature.
- That job benefits were given as a condition of the claimant accepting and keeping quiet about the alleged sexual harassment or engaging in sexual conduct.
- The person harassing was an agent or supervisor at the company at the time of the alleged quid pro quo harassment.
- The claimant was harmed by the alleged quid pro quo harassment.
- The alleged harassment was a major factor in the harm to the claimant.
In order to be successful in a quid pro quo harassment claim, the claimant needs to prove the harassment resulted in negative employment actions like termination or missing out on a promotion. This provides a negative for the claim to correct. Even if the claimant submits to the quid pro quo harassment, they will have a claim if it results in a negative impact on their employment.
Damages in a Quid Pro Quo Harassment Claim
A quid pro quo harassment claimant can seek legal remedy for any damages they faced, such as:
- Lost benefits
- Lost wages
- Loss of opportunity for promotion
- Loss of employment opportunities due to reputational damage
- Emotional distress
In some cases, the claimant may seek reinstatement into their previous position if they wish or the court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages ensure that the company or the alleged harasser takes the charges seriously and do not engage in quid pro quo harassment again.
The claimant has a deadline to file the quid pro quo harassment claim. The EEOC gives a claimant 180day from the date of the harassment to file a claim. They will then investigate the complaint.