Quid pro quo sexual harassment can look a bit like bribery, but it’s often much subtler. And because of that, it can slip under the radar more easily than other types of workplace harassment.
But quid pro quo harassment can be just as detrimental to a company’s culture and bottom line as other forms, damaging employees and leaving the company exposed to lawsuits and reputation damage.
A single incidence of quid pro quo sexual harassment is enough to trigger a lawsuit, so it’s critical that anyone in a position of power in the workplace has the tools to prevent it.
And without even being aware of the incident, an employer can be liable for the quid pro quo harassment perpetrated by a supervisor because supervisors are deemed to be acting on behalf of their employers.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is a type of workplace sexual harassment in which an employee’s submission to or rejection of a superior’s sexual demands affects employment decisions, either positively or negatively.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment typically involves an employee being pressured by a superior to provide sexual favors in order to avoid being fired or demoted, or in order to get a promotion, raise or perk.
Even if the superior doesn’t intend to follow through on the implied threat or benefit, the perception by the victim that the threat or benefit is real constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment.