Quid pro quo sexual harassment (translated from Latin as “this for that”) occurs when an employer or supervisor asks or suggests through physical conduct that an employee perform sexual favors in return for some benefit at work, such as favorable performance reviews, desirable work shifts or promotions. The suggestion of sexual favors in exchange for avoiding an adverse employment action, such as a poor performance review or even termination, is also an example of quid pro quo sexual harassment. In any case, quid pro quo sexual harassment is illegal under both federal and many state laws. Legal remedies include compensatory damages to recover lost wages, benefits or opportunities; reinstatement to the victim’s former position if they were terminated; and monetary damages due to pain and suffering or emotional distress. Contact a top New York sexual harassment attorney if you believe you are a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
What Comprises Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?
The employer or supervisor in a quid pro quo sexual harassment scenario subjects the victim to unwanted sexual conduct. The conduct can be physical or verbally suggestive. And the supervisor or employer does not have to explicitly (or implicitly) offer the employment benefit (or punitive action) at the time of the harassing conduct – if the facts show that the victim’s acceptance or rejection of the sexual conduct was used as part of an employment decision, a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim can be successful.
The victim in a quid pro quo sexual harassment scenario can be coerced into submitting to the unwelcome sexual advances and still have a valid claim. That being said, the employee cannot solicit or trigger the sexual contact and must demonstrate that the sexual contact was not desired or offensive. In addition, if an employee is coerced into submitting to unwelcome sexual contact in return for an employment benefit, other qualified employees who were denied that benefit may be able to establish that the sexual favor was a condition for receiving the benefit.
The Difference Between Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
A hostile work environment type of sexual harassment exists when there is frequent unwanted sexual comments, contact, requests or other similar conduct. The conduct must be unwelcome and frequent to be considered a hostile environment. Unlike quid pro quo sexual harassment, no employee benefit need be at risk in a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim.
Document and Substantiate All Claims of Sexual Harassment
Most importantly, if you believe you are the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you must record and preserve as much of the offensive conduct as possible. The more detail you have, the less likely your employer or supervisor will be able to deny that the offensive conduct took place. Tapes, emails, texts, pictures, etc. which support the sexual harassment claim should all be carefully preserved.
Pick Your Sexual Harassment Attorney Carefully
Your choice of lawyer is also crucial in getting the most money for your claim. Do you want a nameless lawyer who handles many low level sexual harassment claims? Or do you want a well-known, ferocious trial lawyer who has faced down and defeated the federal government in high profile cases – and collected millions of dollars for numerous clients in sexual harassment claims – just in the past year? Which lawyer do you think will best get the job done? The choice is clear: call the New York sexual harassment attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 for a free consultation today; your life could be changed in an instant.