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What Does Quid Pro Quo Harassment Mean in Employment Discrimination?

If you are being harassed in your workplace, a Conshohocken employment attorney can provide you with legal representation. Victims of harassment have rights and can pursue a claim for compensation for losses caused by the unlawful behavior. You may be entitled to compensation for pay and the value of workplace benefits you lose due to harassment, as well as for compensation for emotional distress the behavior causes. If the harassment causes you to quit your job, this may be considered a constructive discharge and you could receive compensation for payment you missed out on because you had to leave your workplace. 

Harassment cases are serious claims and victims need top-notch legal representation from an attorney who can help them to prove the full extent of damages. Companies, too, should consult with an employment attorney about how to protect themselves against harassment cases and about how to raise defenses when they have been accused of engaging in harassing behavior.

Curley & Rothman, LLC provides legal representation to employers and employees in harassment cases. We are focused on helping clients to meet their burden of proof and to get the best possible outcome in situations where accusations of harassment have arisen. Give us a call as soon as possible if you are concerned about preventing harassment as an employer or if you suspect you have been the victim of illegal harassment as an employee.

What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?

Harassment is prohibited by state law as well as by federal civil rights laws including Title VII of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are different kinds of unlawful discrimination in the workplace and victims of discrimination can file claims based on sexual harassment, as well as based on harassment due to their religion, national origin, age, disability status, or other protected status. Sexual harassment cases generally originate under provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission indicates quid pro quo harassment is one of two types of prohibited sexual harassment in the workplace (the other is hostile work environment harassment). According to EEOC: '"Quid pro quo harassment" occurs when "submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.'" Hostile work environment harassment, on the other hand, occurs when an employee is subject to an unpleasant and damaging workplace environment because of routinely being treated differently because of gender or other protected status.

Employers are responsible for hostile work environment discrimination only if the victim can show the employer didn't have a reasonable policy to prevent harassing or abusive behavior on the part of co-workers.  Employers aren't responsible in every case when co-workers make a  work environment unpleasant, as an employee has to show the employer somehow facilitated or failed to stop the behavior on the part of staff in creating a hostile environment.

Quid pro quo, cases, on the other hand, can be easier for victims to make. A victim of quid pro quo harassment can show that his or her civil rights were violated by demonstrating that any terms or conditions of the job were in any way affected by submitting to or rejecting unwanted sexual contact or sexual advances.

Quid pro quo harassment can involve a boss or someone in a position of authority offering or withholding raises based on worker's responses to sexual innuendo or touching in the workplace. Quid pro quo harassment can also involve employers suggesting any type of sexual acts or behavior could affect terms and conditions of employment. Obviously, a boss saying that an employee will receive a promotion for engaging in sexual behavior is a clear example of quid pro quo harassment; however, there may also be other subtler forms of behavior that can still be considered to fall within this broad category of prohibited harassment in the workplace.

How a Conshohocken Employment Attorney Can Help

Determining if quid pro quo harassment is occurring in a workplace is important for employees who may be able to pursue a claim for monetary compensation for all losses caused by this unlawful behavior. Employers also need to take clear and definitive steps to prevent this type of harassing behavior if they do not wish to become liable for the consequences.

A Conshohocken employment attorney can provide assistance throughout all aspects of a quid pro quo harassment case. Give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn more about how we can help.

Employment LawScott Rothman