A Lawyer’s Insight Into Quid Pro Quo

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Both women and men are often silent victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Many victims are afraid to come forward for a variety of reasons, including the fear of losing their jobs or not being believed. Unfortunately, a multitude of sexual harassment incidents go under-reported. It’s important for victims to remember that they can rely on a lawyer for insight, guidance, and representation. A lawyer can ensure that authorities get  involved and that you are protected. 

Quid Pro Quo

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that oversees employment rights and protections, one of the most frequent types of workplace sexual harassment is called quid pro quo. The phrase “quid pro quo” is Latin for “something for something” and that is exactly how the EEOC defines this type of sexual harassment.

When a person is a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment in the workplace, the perpetrator is someone who has authority, such as a supervisor or manager, over the victim. The perpetrator lets the victim know, whether implied or directly, that benefits such as pay raises, promotions, shift assignments, or even the job itself, is dependent upon the victim providing sexual favors to the perpetrator.

It is also classified as quid pro quo sexual harassment if any rejection of the perpetrator’s sexual advances creates a detrimental work situation for the victim. Because the supervisor or manager is acting on behalf of an employer, by way of their position, the employer is usually held legally liable for any quid pro quo sexual harassment that has occurred.

A factor the government and/or courts looks for in whether or not a claim is valid is a significant employer action that had a negative impact on the victim. Examples of this action would include being passed over for a promotion, laid off or fired without real just cause, or being assigned a few hours then had previously been assigned.  When a sexual harassment claim has been established, then the burden of proof that it did not happen is now on the employer.

When an employment attorney brings forward a lawsuit on behalf of a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, they may be awarded back pay, medical expenses, lost benefits, and other compensatory damages. Victims may also be awarded punitive damages if it can be proven the employer behaved with indifference to the victim’s rights or with malice.

Getting Help Immediately

It can be overwhelming and frightening to be a target of workplace sexual harassment. It is important to know that you do not have to go through this ordeal alone. There may be several different legal options available to you depending on the circumstances of your case, and an Employment Lawyer, like our friends at The Law Group of Iowa, can go over each one with you and help you decide what your best course of action is.