Performing your job can be difficult if your supervisor repeatedly propositions you. Because they have a position of authority over you, you likely feel scared to stand up to their behavior. To keep your job or advance in your career, you may even feel you must acquiesce to their demands. Yet, if your supervisor ties your employment to these, their actions likely meet the threshold for quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Defining quid pro quo sexual harassment
Quid pro quo, translated from Latin, means “something for something.” It can pertain to any exchange in a business setting where the performance of an action depends on the fulfillment of a favor. Often, though, the phrase’s use relates to instances of workplace sexual harassment where the perpetrator holds a position of power over the victim.
If your supervisor engages in quid pro quo sexual harassment, they may make your employment or professional advancement contingent on the performance of sexual favors. They may promise you a raise or promotion if you acquiesce to their demands. Conversely, they may threaten to demote, reassign or terminate you if you do not.
To protect your employment, you may feel pressured to give in to your supervisor’s demands. Yet, so long as these demands are unwelcome, they will qualify as quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Putting a stop to quid pro quo sexual harassment
The first step to take after experiencing quid pro quo sexual harassment is to report your supervisor to your employer’s human resources department. It is possible your report could result in an investigation into your supervisor’s behavior, as well as their discipline. Yet, your employer may dismiss your report instead. Or, they may retaliate against you for making it. In these cases, you must file a complaint against your employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may also need to file a lawsuit against your employer if the EEOC – after investigating your complaint – does not file one on your behalf. Filing a complaint with the agency, though, is a prerequisite for this to happen.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment can make your job untenable. Yet, you have ways to put a stop to it. An attorney can help you determine an appropriate course of action for holding your employer accountable.