What is quid pro quo sexual harassment in the workplace?
Some sexual harassment involves co-workers making inappropriate jokes or an overall hostile environment in the workplace toward an employee because of their sex, sexuality or appearance. The creation of a hostile work environment can easily lead to sexual harassment claims against a company.
However, workplace sexual harassment often involves one person behaving in an inappropriate manner toward a co-worker or more likely a subordinate. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is an insidious form of workplace misconduct. You experience quid pro quo harassment when someone makes unwanted advances and misuses their workplace authority.
Quid pro quo harassment involves offering benefits for favors
You may never have realized that your supervisor finds you sexually attractive because they have never said anything inappropriate in front of your co-workers. Then, during your first annual performance review, they inform you that if you want a raise or the best possible scores on their report about your performance, you will need to engage in sexual activity with them or agree to go on a date.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment makes a worker feel like they need to compromise their romantic or ethical values to protect or advance their career. It can have a damaging impact on someone’s career trajectory.
When someone with authority over your career tries to leverage their role for personal benefit or when they threaten you with punishment if you don’t agree to their request, that may be quid pro quo harassment. Fighting back against quid pro quo sexual harassment can help protect your career from the damage caused either by gossiping co-workers or a supervisor angry that you refused their advances.