Advocating For California Employee Rights

How does quid pro quo happen at work?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2023 | Employment Law

Everyone deserves a safe and fair workplace. Unfortunately, sexual harassment remains a pervasive employment law problem throughout the U.S. If you believe an employer, co-worker or customer is making unwelcome sexual advances, you need to take appropriate steps to protect your rights.

One of the least subtle forms of sexual harassment at work is quid pro quo harassment. But what exactly is quid pro quo and how does it happen in the workplace?

Understanding quid pro quo

Basically, quid pro quo is a type of sexual harassment that is based on some form of exchange. It literally implies “this for that.” In the employment context, quid pro quo happens when someone in a position of authority offers a specified employment benefit in exchange for a sexual favor. An example would be a situation where a potential employer offers you employment on the condition that you date them.

Quid pro quo harassment is illegal. If your employer or potential employer is dangling an employment benefit in exchange for a sexual relationship, you need to take action. To do so, however, you need to prove the following elements:

  • There was an employer-employee relationship between you and the perpetrator or you were a job applicant at the time the alleged harassment happened
  • You were subjected to unwanted physical contact or verbal advances from someone in a position of power
  • The perpetrator was an employee of the organization you worked for or sought employment at
  • The perpetrator offered specific employment benefits in exchange for sexual relations
  • You suffered harm due to the harassment

Safeguarding your rights

Seeking legal guidance and learning more about California labor laws can help to protect your rights and interests if you are a victim of any form of harassment, including sexual harassment at work.