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What is Quid Pro Quo?

Female employee being inappropriately touched by male employee in office setting

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that translates to “something in return for something.”  This is usually a term used in sexual harassment cases when someone who gets hired is usually threatened with sexual favors they must have to partake in, or they will essentially lose their job. Our sexual assault attorneys understand that it is very difficult to go through a circumstance like this, and we are here for you every step of the way. Contact us if you think you have a sexual assault claim against a defendant.

What is quid pro quo sexual harassment?

Quid pro quo happens usually at the workplace, during every important professional step including hiring employees, promoting employees, giving raises to employees, recommending employees, and giving performance evaluations to employees. Usually, employers may threaten employees with unfavorable consequences if they don’t submit to the employer sexual demands. Quid pro quo is a circumstance that usually takes place with someone in the company that has a higher position and more power to be able to make these types of sexual demands.

Example of Quid Pro Quo

A manager of the company who is in charge of the employee tells the employee they will fire the employee if the employee does not go on a date with the manager. This type of sexual harassment could potentially leave the employee in such a distressed situation. The employee would feel as if their entire career will come to an end if they don’t go out with the manager. The employee is then forced to take part in an activity in order to prevent any future problems.

Man touching female employee's knee inappropriately

Other Examples of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Other examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment instances include:

  • When the manager offers a promotion to an employee in exchange of sex
  • You are demoted because you declined going out with the manager
  • Your employee evaluations are based on fake allegations because your manager retaliated against you for denying their advances
  • Taking part in sexual favors and being told it is for work
  • Your higher up threatens to fire you if you refuse their sexual advances

Sexual Harassment Quid Pro Quo Claim

There are several elements that a plaintiff must meet in order to bring a sexual harassment lawsuit against their employer. It is advised that before filing the lawsuit, the employee files a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in order to receive a right-to-sue letter. From the date of harassment, usually employees have around 300 days to file a charge with the equal employment opportunity commission. The plaintiff must exhaust all administrative remedies available before filing a civil claim against the defendant. If you feel as though you have suffered sexual harassment at the workplace, contact our attorneys immediately to take the next steps. This step may seem a bit complex and require several different hurdles that an employee has to jump through.

In order to prevail in a quid pro quo sexual harassment case, plaintiff needs to show very strong evidence that the harasser made unwanted sexual advances to the employee on the condition that the employee could potentially lose their job or gain work benefits. In a sexual harassment claim, the standard is referred to as the preponderance of evidence. The preponderance of evidence simply means that the plaintiff would have to show that it was more likely than not that the behavior occurred.

Elements of Sexual Harassment Quid Pro Quo Claim

There are several elements that a plaintiff must have to meet in order to prove a successful quid pro quo sexual harassment claim. These elements include:

  • You are an employee, and work with the defendant. This essentially means that there is some type of business relationship between you and the harasser
  • The harasser made unwanted sexual advances to you, whether it was verbal or physical
  • The harasser communicated that your job was dependent on you accepting the sexual advances
  • The harasser was your supervisor or agent at the company you were working for at the time of the harassment
  • You suffered harm as a result of the sexual harassment

What are some remedies for a quid pro quo sexual workplace harassment claim?

We have decades of experience representing employees who have become victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment claims. Many plaintiffs have different expectations as to what they want from a sexual harassment claim. Different results that could come from a sexual harassment claim include:

  • Injunction to stop the harasser (this usually places the harasser on temporary leave, or makes the employer fire the harasser)
  • Reinstatement of your position if you were fired
  • Monetary compensation for general damages (General damages are those that can easily be calculated, including lost wages, lost benefits, and other employment opportunities)
  • Monetary compensation for special damages (special damages include injuries that cannot easily be calculated, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering)
  • Monetary damages in the form of punitive damages (this is very rare, especially in California and Nevada)

What is the difference between quid pro quo and a toxic hostile work environment?

A hostile work environment occurs when someone’s actions at work create an uncomfortable environment. A hostile work environment usually involves instances of discrimination. For example, if an employer constantly displays inappropriate or offensive materials that may seem racist in nature, you may have a claim against your workplace for discrimination. However, sexual comments and sexual jokes on the condition of the employee’s position constitutes a quid pro quo claim.

What if I am fired for filing a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim?

Our compassionate attorneys believe that nobody should have to endure any type of sexual harassment in the workplace. This type of behavior is a legally protected activity and victims should be able to stand up against the harassers. An employer may not retaliate against an employee for speaking up about any sexual harassment claims that occurred at the workplace. If your employer has fired you or demoted you as a result of filing a sexual harassment claim, contact our attorneys today to file a retaliation claim against the employer. After filing a sexual harassment claim, an employee has legal protections which should prevent the employer from taking any retaliatory actions against them.

Our experienced sexual assault attorneys are there every step of the way through your claim. We are readily available 24/7 and will always be able to try your case in front of a jury. Our attorneys are aggressive and push for higher outcomes in a case. It is important to note that each case has a certain time limitation that states when a plaintiff must bring their claim. For example, if a plaintiff brings their claim too late, they could potentially have the case dismissed. That is why it is important to not delay your claim, and see our attorneys immediately.

If you or a loved one have experienced sexual harassment at work, you should not have to go through this alone and you deserve the right to have your injuries compensated for. Contact our California quid pro quo attorneys to litigate your claims for you and establish your rights. Our compassionate attorneys are here to make sure your rights are best represented and we fight against unfair working conditions.

***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.

Sam Heidari

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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