Quid pro Quo Harassment Is Always Wrong
Harassment in the workplace can create an environment in which nobody wants to work. It can affect your ability to grow your career. It can also make it difficult for you to feel comfortable and safe at work. While there are many types of workplace harassment, quid pro quo harassment is perhaps the most difficult to handle because it involves someone in a position of power over you. It can leave you feeling helpless and afraid.
When you are suffering from quid pro quo harassment, you need an attorney to stand up for you and fight for your rights. Choosing to work with a lawyer experienced in employment law can help you put forth the best case possible.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment Defined
“Quid pro quo” is the Latin term for “something for something.” Quid pro quo harassment happens when someone in a position of authority offers or suggests that you will get something of value if you perform a sexual favor for him or her. It could also offer if an authority figure threatens to do something if you do not grant his or her request.
Quid pro quo harassment is not present in the following situations:
- The request is not sexual in nature
- It will not affect employment or related benefits
- The people are equal level coworkers
- There is a consensual relationship
This type of harassment can happen at any stage of the employment process. It requires a direct connection between a benefit or reprimand and granting a favor of a sexual nature. Also, the person making the request or issuing the threat must have some type of power over the other person.
Harassment and Your Rights
It is illegal for a supervisor, manager or person with authority over you to request or demand any type of sexual relationship with you in exchange for employment benefits. You have the right to report the incident immediately to someone in a position of authority over the harasser.
You can also make a report with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If the state you live in has a sexual harassment policy or law, you can also report it at that level.
You have the right to go to court and request damages due to the incident. These might include payment for things you lose due to the harassment, or the effects the harassment had on you, such as:
- Emotional distress
Some courts may also award punitive damages, which have the intention of punishing the other person for his or her actions. It is not common for the court to issue this type of damages, but it can happen in especially serious cases or cases in which the person has a history of harassment.
How To Prove Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Anytime you bring a claim against someone else in court, you must prove certain elements of the accusation. To prove quid pro quo harassment, you need to provide evidence that shows:
- You were an employee or applicant for a job with the defendant’s company or employer
- The defendant was in a position of authority over you
- The defendant made sexual advances towards you
- Certain benefits of the job were dependent on your acceptance of the sexual advances
- You suffered harm due to the actions of the defendant
In this instance, “harm” would be an adverse employment action. For example, you lose your job or miss out on a promotion. You need to show that direct link.
You must build a solid case to sway a court in your favor. Taking your complaint to other authorities, such as the EEOC, may not require as extensive evidence, but in court, you are seeking monetary payment, so the court wants to be sure there is significant evidence of wrongdoing.
Reasons You Need an Attorney
Proving your grievance will require quite a bit of work, and having an attorney can enable you to build a proper case. Your attorney will have experience in these types of lawsuits and will know exactly what the court wants to see. It will make establishing your claim much easier.
Many people are afraid to come forward after harassment at work, especially quid pro quo. You may fear retaliation from your employer, embarrassment that this happened to you or concerns about losing the respect of coworkers. Your attorney can help you to overcome these feelings by assigning blame to the proper person.
They may also be able to help you make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Your employer holds some blame since the harassment occurred at work and involved someone the employer put in a position of power.
Part of your case may involve making your employer put together and implement a plan to prevent future harassment. A solid prevention program will ensure there is an easy way to report harassment, shift company culture so that this type of behavior is not tolerated and improve communication to ensure everyone understands harassment of any type is wrong.
You may hesitate to begin a lawsuit because you may not know if your case is even worth taking to court. For example, if you did do the favor, you may wonder if you can still make a claim. The answer to that is that you can. The person still harassed you, which was not OK.
Quid pro quo harassment should never become common in the workplace. If you have experienced it, then you need to take the right steps towards making sure it never happens again. The best way to do that is to hire a lawyer who understands this area of employment law.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
If you are a victim of quid pro quo harassment, you deserve someone on your side who will fight for you. Stop letting harassment affect you by speaking with a lawyer who can help you make your case in court and get the damages you rightfully deserve. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!