Are you a victim of “quid pro quo” harassment? | Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP
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Are you a victim of “quid pro quo” harassment?

Not all forms of sexual harassment look the same. One form of sexual harassment is known as quid pro quo harassment. In Latin, the phrase translates to “something for something” or “this for that.” An example of this type of sexual harassment is when someone in a supervising role offers an employee a favorable employment outcome in exchange for sexual relations.

Quid pro quo harassment can be implicit or explicit. Generally, quid pro quo harassment occurs in two ways, including:

  1. A supervisor offers an employee a raise, promotion or preferred project in exchange for sexual relations.
  2. A supervisor offers to not reprimand an employee if he or she engages in sexual relations.

For instance, it is considered implicit if a supervisor touches an employee in an inappropriate way and simultaneously asks the employee if he or she wants a raise. To prove a quid pro quo harassment claim in New Jersey, courts require an employee to show that the following actions occurred:

  • The employee worked at the company when the incident occurred.
  • The harasser was a supervisor of the employee when the incident occurred.
  • The harasser offered a favorable employment outcome in exchange for sexual relations.
  • The harasser made unwelcome sexual advances or sexually inappropriate remarks.
  • The harasser’s actions harmed the victim.

Federal and state laws are in place to protect victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Additionally, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits harassment based on sex, including hostile work environment sexual harassment and quid pro quo harassment.

An employee can bring a quid pro quo harassment claim in court, even if he or she engaged in sexual relations with the supervisor. If you experienced quid pro quo or any other type of sexual harassment in your workplace, consult with an employment law attorney to discuss your options.

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