What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment? | Bantle & Levy



What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one of the two types of workplace harassment claims that fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, with the other being hostile work environment harassment. But before getting to the legal quid pro quo sexual harassment definition, you should know that the Latin phrase “quid pro quo” literally means something for something. When used in the context of the workplace, it usually involves sexual harassment allegations.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is more common than many people think. We’re here to help you understand quid pro quo sexual harassment in the workplace and its legal implications. Remember, if your boss or someone of authority in the office subjects you to this harassment, you have the right to take legal action against them and seek justice.

To strengthen your claim when taking on a powerful person in your organization, consult with a sexual harassment lawyer who will know exactly how to protect your rights in the workplace. Let’s take a look at some of the key aspects of this type of sexual harassment claim.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs in the workplace when a manager or someone in a senior position offers, suggests, or even hints that they’ll give the employee something such as a promotion or a raise in return for that employee fulfilling their sexual demand.

Another example is when a manager or authority figure says the employee will not be fired or reprimanded in exchange for sexual favors. Job applicants may also face this kind of harassment if the hiring decision involved the applicant facing any kind of sexual overtures.

Victims should know that this type of harassment is illegal, and considered an abuse of power.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Definition

In legal terms, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when “an individual’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting the individual or the individual’s submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment.”

Are Companies Liable in Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Cases?

As per the Supreme Court verdict, employers can be held responsible for the illegal actions of their supervisors. Further, employers are also encouraged to take suitable measures to prevent harassment in the workplace.

Employers are expected to show reasonable care to deter sexual harassment, and employees can take advantage of the company’s policies, processes, corrective opportunities, and other reasonable care offered by the employer.

How Can Employees Prove Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

In order to prove a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim, the plaintiff/victim will have to establish that:

  • The plaintiff was an employee of or had applied for a job with XYZ company
  • The alleged harasser is also an employee of the same company and made sexual demands from the plaintiff through words and/or acts of a sexual nature
  • The alleged harasser set certain conditions, through sexual misconduct or words, for the plaintiff to meet to receive job benefits
  • The employment-related decisions for the plaintiff were made based on their acceptance or refusal of the alleged harasser’s sexual demands
  • The alleged harasser was a supervisor in XYZ company at the time of the misconduct
  • The plaintiff was negatively affected by the alleged misconduct

When making their decision, courts look for proof that the harassment resulted in a substantial employment action. This can include the plaintiff being fired, demoted, or overlooked for a promotion. The plaintiff has the right to file a claim even after ultimately giving in to the harasser’s demands.

How to File a Claim

Victims of quid pro quo sexual harassment have the right to file a legal claim against their employer in federal or state court without fear of retaliation. Before approaching the federal court, however, the victim needs to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 calendar days in New York from the date of the harassment.

Are Victims of Quid Pro Quo Harassment Eligible for Compensatory Damages?

As a victim, you may be able to recover compensatory damages for lost wages, lost benefits, lost employment opportunities, and even lawyer’s fees. You can also claim damages for emotional distress and be reinstated at your place of employment.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to discourage the harasser from engaging in or allowing sexual harassment in the future.

It is best to discuss this aspect with your sexual harassment lawyer in detail. Only they will be able to determine which damages will apply in your specific case.

How Can a Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help?

Our team understands that it isn’t easy to go up against a powerful company with enormous resources. Victims often feel intimidated, overwhelmed, and lonely in their fight for justice. But having the support of a proven attorney can go a long way in boosting your confidence.

A sexual harassment lawyer will help you file your claim in the appropriate court or agency within the stipulated timeframe. They’ll also help you negotiate a fair settlement, and become your source of legal guidance throughout the process, even if you need to take your case to trial.

Contact Our Quid Pro Quo Harassment Lawyer for Legal Assistance

It is illegal for anyone at your workplace to demand sexual favors in exchange for giving you what’s rightfully yours. If you’re a victim of quid pro quo harassment, the New York sexual harassment attorneys at Bantle & Levy will fight for your rights, ensuring a safe, harassment-free workplace for you. To learn more, call us at 212.228.9666 or fill out our online form.

Bantle & Levy
Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


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