Understanding Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

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Most of us have a broad understanding of what sexual harassment means in the workplace. The average person knows that it is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her sex. The average person also knows that unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other actions could subject an employer or supervisor to liability. As simple as this sounds, bringing sexual harassment claims can be stressful and complicated. If you have suffered work-related sexual harassment, we encourage you to discuss your situation with our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers.

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There are two distinct types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment. In this article, our sexual harassment lawyers in Los Angeles discuss what to know about quid pro quo sexual harassment.

What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

Literally translated, quid pro quo means “something for something” in Latin. Quid pro quo harassment is essentially sexual blackmail. It occurs when someone in a position of power, like a manager or supervisor, uses his or her power to coerce employees into sexual favors. Workplace sexual harassment victims often feel as if they have no choice but to comply, or they will be retaliated against.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when either:

  • Employment benefits are contingent upon sexual favors or the submission of unwelcome sexual advances
  • Rejection of a sexual advance or the request for sexual favors results in an adverse employment action

Generally, an employee is either receiving employment benefits or maintaining them by submission. Examples of employment benefits may include, but are not limited to:

  • Employment status
  • Pay or salary increases
  • Job advancement opportunities
  • Training opportunities

It is important to understand that work-related sexual harassment can occur at the workplace or in another location. Remote workers can also suffer from workplace quid pro quo harassment. See our examples of remote sexual harassment.

Can I File a Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Claim?

Even one instance of quid pro quo harassment may be enough to support a quid pro quo harassment claim. If you file a quid pro quo harassment claim, you must be able to prove the following:

  1. You were either an employee of the defendant (the employer), applied for a job with the defendant, or provided services in accordance to a contract with the defendant;
  2. The alleged harasser (i.e. manager or supervisor) of the employer made unwelcome sexual advances toward you and/or engaged in sexual harassment;
  3. Certain terms of your employment were contingent upon your response to the alleged harasser’s sexual advances or requests;
  4. The alleged harasser was an agent of the defendant at the time of the alleged conduct;
  5. You were harmed by the alleged conduct;
  6. The alleged harasser’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing your harm.

We encourage you to speak with a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer from our firm about your unique situation. We can help you understand whether you have a viable sexual harassment claim against your employer.

Discuss Your Situation With Our Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Los Angeles

At Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP, our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys may be able to help you hold your employer accountable for sexual misconduct at work by describing how you can take legal action. Call us at (310) 499-0140 or fill out our online contact form to get started. We provide a free and confidential, initial consultation to discuss your situation.

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