What Is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?


Quid pro quo is a Latin term that translates to “something for something.” In other words, one person does something for someone in exchange for something else.

Quid pro quo harassment in the workplace involves a manager or another authority figure hinting that they will provide their employee with something, such as a promotion if that person returns the favor with a sexual act.

What Is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?

Quid pro quo harassment is a form of sexual harassment that occurs at work between an employee and a superior. Typically, it requires the employee to engage in unwanted sexual conduct for professional gain.

Authority figures within a company are the parties that often commit quid pro quo harassment. These individuals, such as managers and supervisors, are responsible for decisions regarding hiring, promoting, firing, or demoting a subordinate.
Common examples of quid pro quo harassment include:

  • A supervisor changes an employee’s performance review based on whether the employee engaged in sexual activity with the supervisor
  • A hiring manager offers someone a job as long as they agree to a date or sexual favor
  • An employer fires a person who files a sexual harassment complaint or refuses to carry out their sexual demands
  • An executive of the company offers an employee a promotion or raise for a sexual favor in return

What to Do if You Believe You’ve Been the Victim of Harassment

It is illegal for an employer or any person in a position of power to retaliate against an employee for filing a sexual harassment complaint. If your manager fired you for initiating a claim or lawsuit against them, you deserve legal representation to seek compensation and potentially get your job back.

If you were the victim of harassment in the workplace, you should take immediate legal action. Your case must meet specific requirements to hold the at-fault party liable for quid pro quo harassment. Those requirements include:

  • The physical or verbal sexual advances were unwanted
  • The at-fault person holds a managerial position or made you believe they do
  • The harassment caused financial and/or emotional harm
  • The act involved offering something to you in exchange for a sexual favor

It’s vital to file a formal written complaint, so there’s documentation of the incident. You can report the person responsible to the human resources department. This report should result in an investigation into your claims. However, human resources might ignore your complaint or try to cover up what happened to avoid liability.

If your filed report is dismissed without proper investigation, you can proceed with a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The next step would be to file a lawsuit if the EEOC investigates the complaint and doesn’t file one on your behalf.

The compensation received could cover various losses suffered from the harassment, such as:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Attorney and legal fees
  • Punitive damages

How a Lawyer Could Help

At the Vaughn Law Firm, we fight to protect the rights of employees in the federal and private sectors. You deserve to receive fair treatment from your employer no matter what. No one should subject you to instances of harassment or retaliatory actions.

Our Georgia and Washington-based legal team has sixteen years of combined experience representing clients like you. If you were the victim of quid pro quo harassment at work, you should contact us immediately. We can review the circumstances of your case and determine the available legal options. You can count on us to help you pursue the compensation you deserve and hold the at-fault party liable.

Contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer from the Vaughn Law Firm.