Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Every employee in New York has the right to work without being subjected to any type of discrimination, including sexual harassment. This conduct not only offends an individual’s basic human dignity but violates federal, state, and city laws. Sexual harassment can take the form of actions called quid pro quo, which tie conditions of employment to requests for sexual favors from an employee. If you have found yourself in this situation at your workplace, you should assert your rights by enlisting the assistance of Long Island sexual harassment lawyer James J. Corbett. Mr. Corbett knows how to effectively pursue a sexual harassment claim such as quid pro quo.

How a Quid Pro Quo Situation Can Arise

The phrase “quid pro quo” literally means giving something in return for something else. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has used this phrase in the context of gender discrimination for situations when someone in a workplace asks an employee to provide sexual favors in return for favorable employment decisions. Both the victim and the perpetrator of quid pro quo conduct can be of either sex, and they can be of the same sex as each other. Also, any person who is affected by the conduct can bring a claim, even if the victim does not.

Unwanted sexual advances or requests for sex can come from either supervisors or co-workers. Some people assume that quid pro quo conduct happens only when actual sexual intercourse is involved, but this is not true. Any request seeking an employee to engage in inappropriate sexual behavior, whether explicit or implicit, may suffice to support a sexual harassment claim under a quid pro quo argument. 

Similarly, a variety of threats or inducements can serve as the basis for these claims. Perhaps the most obvious quid pro quo situation happens when a supervisor demands an employee to provide him or her with sexual favors to grant a promotion. But this conduct also extends to decisions taken to fire, demote, refuse to promote, or otherwise retaliate against a worker who has refused unwanted sexual advances. Sometimes these patterns develop into widespread gender discrimination because one gender or the other is consistently favored or disfavored for promotion, depending on whether employees of that gender grant or refuse requests for sexual favors.

You do not need to prove that you incurred financial losses to pursue a quid pro quo claim. Since the conduct itself is illegal, you simply need to focus on proving that it happened and that you rejected it. An employee who has been subjected to this form of sexual harassment should focus on keeping detailed records of what happened. Crucial evidence can come from emails, instant messages, text messages, or other internal documents at your place of employment. These are important because quid pro quo conduct rarely has witnesses other than the victim and the perpetrator. Together with the dates and times of the incidents, these documents can help establish both that the conduct happened and that you told the person engaging in the conduct that it was unwelcome.

Protect Your Rights by Consulting a Long Island Employment Lawyer

Federal, state, and city laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York’s Human Rights Law, shield employees from gender discrimination in the workplace. Their protections extend to all forms of sexual harassment because they arise from a worker’s gender. If you have been affected by quid pro quo conduct in your workplace, you should contact New York employment discrimination attorney James J. Corbett to discuss the situation. Mr. Corbett has advised individual employees from Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx to Manhattan and Staten Island, evaluating whether they have a claim and helping them pursue the justice they deserve. To set up a free initial consultation, simply fill out our online form or call us (516) 679-9494.