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What is quid pro quo sexual harassment?

People who have read our blog for a while have likely seen the term quid pro quo sexual harassment mentioned. Some of our California readers might have some questions about quid pro quo harassment. While these basic questions and answers don't cover everything about quid pro quo, they should answer some questions that might come up.

What is quid pro quo harassment?

Quid pro quo harassment means that an employee will get a benefit from a manager or supervisor if they comply with the sexual advances or desires of that person. Quid pro quo is translated as "something for something." In the case of quid pro quo sexual harassment, the victim can be a current employee or a job applicant as long as the ultimate outcome of the benefit is based on the response to the advances.

Is quid pro quo sexual harassment always verbal?

Many incidents of quid pro quo sexual harassment do involve verbal elements, such as when an employer tells an employee or applicant that they can get a raise if they comply with the advances. There are also some instances in which the quid pro quo sexual harassment can be implied, such as if an employer puts his hand on an applicant's leg and raises his eyebrows or something similar. That implies that the employer would like a sexual favor for a job.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment isn't something that is permissible in any situation. These unwanted advances can make a workplace very tense or hostile. People who are victims of quid pro quo harassment might choose to take action against the employer. Knowing the applicable laws might help the victim decide what steps to take to remedy the incident.

Source: FindLaw, "What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?" Oct. 05, 2014

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