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Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in California (2024) – All You Need To Know

Diefer Law Group
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in California

Sexual harassment is, unfortunately, a persistent problem in most industries across the United States. It is possible for sexual harassment to occur in various ways, sometimes without the victim realizing that what they are experiencing is illegal at first. Whenever an employer attempts to take advantage of a subordinate on the basis of their sex or sexual orientation, or whenever an employee experiences a hostile work environment on the basis of their sex or sexual orientation, this is sexual harassment and grounds for legal action.

One of the most common types of sexual harassment is known as quid pro quo, a Latin phrase that translates roughly to “something for something.” In the context of sexual harassment, this term applies any time an employer offers a sexual transaction to an employee or threatens penalties for denying sexual advances.

Laws Pertaining to Quid Pro Quo

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for investigating workplace sexual harassment claims and enforcing related laws, and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) includes the state-level laws that apply to sexual harassment in the workplace.

If you believe you have experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment of any kind in your workplace, it is vital to consult an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible. Both the EEOC’s laws and the FEHA’s state-level statutes could apply to your situation, and you have a limited time in which to file your complaint.

Understanding Quid Pro Quo                             

To determine whether a recent incident qualifies as quid pro quo sexual harassment, you must first assess your relationship with the defendant. Quid pro quo can only occur when a supervisor engages in harassment against a subordinate employee on the basis of sexual favors. It’s possible for sexual harassment to occur between employees of similar standing within an organization, but this would not qualify as quid pro quo.

Quid pro quo can take the form of an offer or a threat. For example, an employer offers a subordinate a pay increase in exchange for sexual favors. The subordinate refuses, and the employer takes no adverse action against them. This would still qualify as quid pro quo because it is illegal for the employer to make such an offer, abusing their position of authority. The inverse is more direct and more obviously illegal. The employer demands sexual favors from a subordinate under threat of firing them or other job-related penalties. The employer has committed sexual harassment just by making the threat, and even if the employee refuses and does not follow through, the employer has still broken the law.

Everyone working in every industry in the state has the right to a workplace free of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be a serious problem throughout the United States. If you believe you have experienced quid pro quo or any other type of sexual harassment, an experienced sexual harassment attorney can assist you in determining your options for legal recourse and guide you through the process of holding your employer accountable.

FAQs

Q: Is Quid Pro Quo Illegal?

A: Yes, any form of quid pro quo sexual harassment is illegal and a violation of federal employment laws enforced by the EEOC. If you are presented with any type of quid pro quo from an employer or supervisor, whether they are offering benefits or threatening penalties in regard to sexual favors, this is cause to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Q: How Do You Prove Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

A: To succeed with a civil suit for quid pro quo sexual harassment, you must prove that the defendant held a position of authority over you in your workplace and offered job-related benefits in exchange for sexual favors. Alternatively, you may need to prove they threatened job-related penalties if you did not perform sexual favors. An experienced sexual harassment attorney can assist you in identifying evidence you may need to gather to support your case.

Q: How Do I File a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?

A: Before you can file a lawsuit against your employer for quid pro quo or any other type of sexual harassment, you must submit a complaint to the EEOC and have them review your case. If the EEOC investigates and determines that your experience qualifies as sexual harassment, they will either initiate legal proceedings against the defendant for you or issue you a Notice of Right to Sue that allows you to proceed with your civil suit.

Q: What Are the Penalties for Quid Pro Quo?

A: If an employer is found liable for quid pro quo or any other type of sexual harassment, they face severe legal penalties, including liability for the victim’s damages, along with heavy fines. If the defendant completed any unwanted physical contact with the victim or the situation escalated to sexual battery, the defendant faces severe criminal penalties, including further fines, jail time, and sex offender registration.

Q: Who Can Engage in Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

A: The main determining factors as to whether an incident of sexual harassment qualifies as quid pro quo are the relationship between the victim and the aggressor and the exchange offered. For an incident to qualify as quid pro quo, the defendant must have offered job-related benefits in exchange for sexual favors from the plaintiff, or they must have threatened job-related penalties if the plaintiff did not submit to sexual advances. The sexes of the parties involved are irrelevant, as it is possible for a male or female supervisor to harass a male or female subordinate.

Diefer Law Group has extensive experience representing sexual harassment claims on behalf of clients, and quid pro quo is one of the most common types of sexual harassment we see. If you believe a recent incident qualifies as quid pro quo sexual harassment, we can help determine your most viable legal options for resolving the situation and guide you through the claim filing process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

Abel Fernandez

Abel Fernandez

Attorney Abel Fernandez believes in the aggressive representation of injured workers. Workers’ compensation law is a very difficult and frustrating area of the law. Employees routinely have medical treatment and benefits delayed or denied by insurance companies. Mr. Fernandez fights for the rights of the injured worker to get medical treatment and the maximum amount of benefits possible. We have experience fighting the insurance company and adjusters, and we are committed to obtaining the best outcome possible for our clients.


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