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What does the term quid pro quo sexual harassment mean?

First, you should understand what the Latin phrase "quid pro quo" means. According to Merriam-Webster it means, "Something given or received for something else." A simpler way to think of it is, "this for that." Often, quid pro quo arrangements are beneficial to all parties involved and are a valid part of agreements between two people.

Unfortunately, the term is also used to describe a very specific type of sexual harassment in the California workplace. A typical scenario for this kind of harassment involves a superior asking for or demanding sexual favors in for promotion or job security. However, sexual harassment of a quid pro quo nature need not be that blatant.

If an employer merely hints that an employee must provide sexual favors in exchange for something else, it is also sexual harassment. This means the employer does not have to ask for the exchange directly. For example, say an employer touches an employee inappropriately or makes lewd comments. If the worker objects to this behavior and the employer threatens or suggests it is a condition of employment, it is quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Victims of quid pro quo harassment can seek a legal remedy through the justice system, but it can be difficult to go it alone. Many victims find that working with an attorney who has experience in employment law makes all the difference between failure and success. At the very least, it is a good idea to talk about your case with a lawyer who understands employment law in the state of California. This will also provide you with advocacy and professional support in your attempt to find justice.

Source: FindLaw, "What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?," accessed Feb. 10, 2017

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