What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

Updated: Feb 17

Quid Pro Quo, is the Latin saying "This for That." Sexual Harassment at work is already upsetting and illegal. Quid Pro Quo is when said harassments come with strings attached and from a superior. The health or conveniences of the work place become contingent on allowing the harassment to continue. Meaning, that the threat either implied or literally communicated can come at the cost of losing your job, less hours, less benefits, limited pay-incentives or being subject to retaliatory behavior from the Harasser.


It is illegal for an employer, or co-worker, regardless of position to pressure anyone with sexual harassment to leverage benefits or a safe working environment. It is also against the law to retaliate against employees who disclose harassment by terminating their position. If you have been terminated from a job after reporting harassment, Contact an Employment Lawyer for a free consultation.


Quid Pro Quo is different from general Sexual Harassment, as the one inflicting the harassment is a person in power over the one being harassed. This person is capable of making direct decisions and impact on the employee's work health, benefits and financial stability within the company. It is against Federal law for a person in a higher position to implicate trading sexual favors or contact with a subordinate to maintain a healthy & safe work environment, or move up in a company.


Types of Workplace Harassment:


Quid pro quo: When a Superior promises not to blackmail an employee with promotions or better pay if they engage in sexual favors or contact.


Sexual harassment: The unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances or remarks in a workplace.


Hostile work environment Severe and pervasive behavior, targeting an employee and making them feel unsafe.

What can Quid Pro Quo look like:


  • Superior offering an employee or applicant a job in exchange for having a dating relationship or asking for sexual favors.

  • The Threat of losing employment for not accepting inappropriate advances.

  • Being sent inappropriate text messages, photos, emails etc. with promises of promotions or perks

  • Offers of better titles or bonuses with strings attached

  • Unwanted touching

  • Jokes or lewd comments

  • Promises of changing performance Reviews for trade in sexual favors or a date


What Quid Pro Quo can look like when rejecting a Superior's Sexual Advances:


  • Receiving a write-up or negative performance review

  • Employee is terminated for no reason, or made-up reason.

  • Having work assignments re-delegated or made harder to complete

  • Being Demoted or Position Title changed

  • Exclusion from important meetings or team-building exercises

  • Benefits such as full-time status or Health Insurance being changed


These are only a few aggressive ways a Harasser can retaliate against an employee for not agreeing to unwanted advances at work. If you feel you have been subject to any of these or something similar, reach out to our office to discuss your options. Please call our office at (412) 626-5626, email lawyer@manesnarahari.com. or use our Live Chat option.


Manes & Narahari, LLC specializes in employment and unemployment matters such as arguing for your benefits, assisting in wrongful terminations, discrimination, harassment, hostile work environments, as well as other matters that take place in the workplace


Learn more about our Team of Employment Law Professionals




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