What Is Quid Pro Quo?

“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that translates to “something for something.” While this statement can be used in various situations, it is most commonly associated with charges of sexual harassment in the workplace. One of two forms of workplace harassment claims covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is quid pro quo harassment, the other being hostile work environment harassment. Talk to a sexual harassment lawyer Austin today to learn more. 

In most circumstances, quid pro quo harassment happens when a senior or supervisor solicits sexual services from an employee in exchange for a job benefit — such as a raise, a promotion, better hours, etc. — or to prevent a disadvantage such as a pay cut, demotion, negative performance review, etc.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII, and just about anyone can be a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, regardless of their gender. 

How can an employee prove it? 

Workers must establish specific criteria to name their employer liable for workplace sexual harassment. And while each case is unique, the following elements are commonly used to prove this kind of harassment: 

  • The worker must prove that they belong to a protected class, meaning that national law, in this case – Title VII, explicitly protects the accuser and all of the other workers from employment discrimination based on gender. 
  • The employee was the victim of unwanted sexual advances from another employee, usually a supervisor or business officer. 
  • The harasser’s pestering was sexual. 
  • The employee’s response to the sexual approaches harmed some areas of their job, such as pay or a promotion/demotion. 
  • The employer is liable for the harassment under a legal doctrine, which means that the accused harasser had power over the worker, either as their supervisor or in a position to influence the employee’s work conditions or circumstances. 

Are threats or remarks enough to prove quid pro quo sexual harassment?  

If a manager threatens to do something but never follows through, or if the supervisor does not take any action after the employee rejects them, then the employee would not be able to make a quid pro quo claim.

Compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 

While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and its policy on quid pro quo sexual harassment may appear simple, ambiguity can arise when claims arise, creating a tangled web of crisscrossing complaints. If you believe that you have experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment, do not stay silent. Schedule a consultation with an experienced sexual harassment attorney today. 

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