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What does “quid pro quo” mean? 

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Sexual Harassment

There are a few different types of sexual harassment that can happen in the workplace, all of which are legally prohibited. One is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment. People sometimes hear this term relating to a recent case, but may not know exactly how this differentiates it from other types of cases.

Essentially, quid pro quo just means “something for something.” It denotes the act of a trade. So how does this influence harassment cases?

Using a position of power

What usually happens is that one person is in a position of power over someone else. The person who has the power uses it in an effort to get what they want. 

For example, say that there is an employee who is hoping to get a promotion. Meanwhile, the CEO knows that they are the one who can deny or grant this promotion. They go to the employee and tell them that they can have the promotion in exchange for sexual favors.

Now, it may not necessarily be this overt. But the CEO may imply, hint or otherwise make it clear that the employee needs to give them what they want in order to get something – the promotion – in exchange. There is also a related implication saying that the person will not be promoted if they don’t go along with what the CEO wants, and they may even risk being fired completely. This is why it is such a problematic form of manipulation.

As noted above, it is also prohibited, and no employee deserves to be treated this way. Those who have been – especially if they have lost their job as a result – certainly need to know about all of the legal steps they can take moving forward.