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Date Modified: March 24, 2023

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Sign
Sexual lawsuits

Quid Pro Quo is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” And it still gets used as a term for exploitation that can happen in the workplace or academic settings modernly. In this educational article, our phenomenal Los Angeles personal injury lawyers discuss Quid Pro Quo law and getting an award of superior financial compensation for a quid pro quo lawsuit or employment claim as an oppressed victim.

The Ehline Law Firm handles these delicate cases on behalf of victims with no voice of their own. What makes us different is that we work behind the scenes.

  • So we can help protect the victim until there is a smoking gun or a viable case.
  • These cases are not easy to win and were particularly frightening to the wage earner.

So any person under submission to a pernicious higher authority is a conundrum. Usually, this is a form of sexual harassment. And it happens when supervisors want sexual favors.

Hence, it is sex in exchange for not terminating or disciplining an employee. It is unlawful.

Sex In Exchange For Pay Raises is Unlawful?

Well, that’s a no-brainer right? Sex in exchange for tangible things is a solicitation of prostitution by definition, right?

It’s illegal when it is in exchange for:

  • Hiring an employee
  • Giving raises or promotions.

In some cases, it may get used as a way for the person in authority to offer a better job. Or they may provide a nicer schedule, better benefits.

What about in Schools in Exchange for Grades, etc.?

Often, better grades in an academic setting at your junior high, high school, or other public colleges get offered to make life easy for you at school.

Or if you don’t submit to your supervisor or professor, you could receive disciplinary action for even an infraction.

  • And this is sexual harassment because the employee or student must submit. So they have to partake in the sexual advances of the employer or teacher in exchange for something.

The victim believes he or she will pay a huge price if they refuse the sexual advance.

  • And this can occur in different forms, from a subtle hint to more advanced actions.

Examples include the employer touching the employee sexually. Of course, the expectation is the employee remains silent.

Is “Quid Pro Quo” Tantamount to Unwanted Sexual Advances?

Quid pro quo situations are an unwanted sexual advance or using sex as a bargaining tool. Usually, it is by an individual higher up in a workplace. Obviously, this can make the workplace hostile or intolerable for the employee.

California law protects the employee. And a situation such as this entitles the employee to recover damages if the worker can prove it. So the quid pro quo actions must have resulted in getting deprived of benefits. And these include things such as promotions, raises, or even a safe workplace.

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment are Illegal, Right?

Yes, but evil people still ignore the law! Can you see now why having a lawyer could be so important to your case? Employers, managers, or others in charge are not supposed to harass or discriminate against employees. PERIOD!

  • Also, workplace discrimination due to gender or sex is strictly prohibited.

These laws apply in workplaces that include:

  • Private businesses
  • Labor organizations
  • Government agencies.

What are the Two Categories of Sexual Harassment?

There are two types of sexual harassment that most claims fall under.

  1. First is a hostile work environment, and the second is quid pro quo.
  2. Quid pro quo is generally when a supervisor requests sexual favors in exchange for giving the employee a benefit.

What Could Your Enticement to Engage In Sex Be?

  • An offering, a raise, a promotion, or a good performance review is enough to kick in the statute’s protections.
  • But the catch is the supervisor wants oral sex or sex at a hotel down the street or something like that.

This action can be implied. But it can also accompany a threat of retaliation if the employee does not agree to the liaison. Under the law, the quid pro quo can be one single event.

But usually, in this kind of incident, there can be various sexual demands or advances. Sexual harassment may involve behavior or sexual propositions. But it can also include comments on the employee’s body.

Sometimes it will include graphic discussions of sex acts. And most people, especially married ladies, would consider this sexual harassment. In some situations, the supervisor may threaten the consequences of refusing sexual demands.

Frequent requests may be subtle or demanding, including:

  • The promise of better job opportunities if the employee agrees to sexual demands or suggestions.
  • Suggesting being friendly is in the employee’s best interest by the supervisor.
  • Withholding benefits, raises, or promotions unless sexual acts get performed.

So What Else is a Hostile or Sexual Harassment Work Environment?

A hostile work environment exists when unwanted sexual behavior gets directed at an employee. The hostile work environment can also be sexual harassment. And this can be deemed unwelcome sexual conduct toward an employee.

Though similar to the quid pro quo, sexual harassment is a hostile work environment. And this exists where the employee is the focus of undesired attention.

The hostile work environment of sexual harassment must distress, offend, or humiliate the employee.

And if done by a supervisor, it may include:

  • Ogling or staring.
  • Intrusive sexual questions.
  • Sexually offensive jokes.
  • Sexual comments or innuendo.
  • You are commenting on appearance or sexuality.
  • Repeated unwanted body contact.
  • Suggestive gestures or sexual sounds.
  • Display of sexually explicit content or pornography.
  • You are deliberately exposing private parts.

Federal and California law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. The California statute for sexual harassment is the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

It is also found in California Government Code section 12900, et seq. And the federal laws are in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is additional clarification involving sexual harassment located there.

What About Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Claims?

  • Included in sexual harassment law is that it is unlawful to retaliate. So if an employee makes a complaint or reports the quid pro quo situation, they must get left alone.
  • Sexual harassment can take place in the workplace or in other locations. But it must occur due to the employment relationship.
  • Most quid pro quo situations require a male supervisor/manager and a female employee. But the law is the same when sexual harassment includes a female supervisor and a male employee. Also, sexual harassment prohibitions come into play when supervisors and employees are the same sex.

And the law recognizes that sexual harassment may be widespread. Hence, it could be creating a hostile work environment for employees of one sex or both.

The quid pro quo sexual harassment claim differs from a workplace hostile environment claim. And this is because it can be a single incident of an unwanted sexual advance by a supervisor, manager, or owner.

This harassment is about:

  • Maintaining job benefits
  • Keeping the job or promotion

So one incident may be enough to support this claim. Hence, the employer is liable.

  • But the victim must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the defendant made unwanted sexual advances in exchange for a job promise or threat.
  • Or the plaintiff must show the defendant behaved directly to the employee in a sexual nature.

CAVEAT: The victim must demonstrate it was as a condition for receiving employee benefits. And that could also include promotions, or avoiding adverse employment issues. The evidence shown should prove the events were more likely to have occurred than not.

What are the Essential Elements of a Claim?

The items that must get established in a quid pro quo claim of sexual harassment following the California Judicial Council Jury Instruction, CACI 2520 states:

  • The plaintiff applied to the defendant for a job. And as an employee of the respondent. Or was providing services under contract with the respondent?
  • At the time the alleged sexual harassment occurred, the person promoting their harassment was a supervisor, manager, or agent of the employer.
  • Defendant alleged harasser, engaged in unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Or the defendant made advances to the plaintiff.
  • Alleged sexual advances or conduct got used as a condition for job benefits on the plaintiff’s acceptance. Or employment decisions got based on the plaintiff’s acceptance or rejection of the sexual harasser’s conduct or advances.
  • Plaintiff got harmed, and the alleged harasser’s conduct was the primary factor in the plaintiff’s injury.

Hostile Work Environment Elements?

The one element that is used to determine a hostile work environment involving sexual harassment is the severity. And the frequency of unwanted sexual conduct must be sufficient to be severe.

See below for additional elements as follows:

  • Context or timing of the conduct.
  • The frequency of the events.
  • The severity of the actions.

What are our Employer’s Obligations?

Employers must ensure a safe workplace. So this includes quid pro quo harassment. It sticks since the harasser is a representative of the organization. And this often results in the company being liable for the supervisor or manager’s actions.

Under the quid pro quo claim, the employee must prove the supervisor or manager sexually harassed the plaintiff. Further, the employer’s sexual satisfaction was a condition of your job. So these have to be unwelcome advances. The employer’s obligation under California law is to prevent sexual harassment.

Suppression in the workplace includes:

  • Development and implementation of a sexual harassment policy for supervisors. Also, managers and any other person employed by the company must get trained.
  • The California Department of Employment and Housing poster. It must get placed in the workplace where workers can view it.
  • Information sheets provided to each employee entailing sexual harassment.
  • The employer must take reasonable steps. The goal is to prevent bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.

When the business fails in its duty, the employer may be liable for sexual harassment. So even if the harassment was unknown to management, there is a liability.

So long as it got promoted to a supervisor, manager, or agent, there is a case. Also the person promoting the harassment may also be personally liable. So too, will those who aided in the harassment.

How Do You Go About Stopping Sexual Harassment?

If an employee believes they were sexually harassed, the first step is to complain. You must make it clear to the individual that their actions are not wanted. The next step is following the employee handbook procedures.

That way, you can file a complaint with the management staff and employer. After the company notification, they have a legal duty to investigate the complaint. And they must take action to correct the inappropriate behavior immediately.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Sexual Harassment Claims?

California employees have:

  • Two statutes of limitations are attached to a quid pro quo claim.
  • The first deals with the right to bring a lawsuit notice. And this gets filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. So this must become lodged with CDFEH within one year from the date of the alleged sexual harassment.
  • The second statute is filing the lawsuit in state court within the time allotted by law.

What About Quid Pro Quo Claims Legal Actions?

Victims of sexual harassment often have a difficult time confronting the perpetrator. And it is especially when it happens in the workplace. There is embarrassment the event occurred and the fear of job loss.

The other fear the employee may have is the threat of retaliation. These three issues make it even harder for the victim to make a complaint. So often, the supervisor or manager sexually harassing gets away with it.

Employees shouldn’t work in an environment where they face threats or encounter lewd behavior. Any sexual advances or demands are not ok. So this may be the perfect time to consult an experienced quid pro quo attorney.

Hence, you can speak to an advisor. That way, the employee gets made aware of their legal rights and the best way to proceed with a claim. Claims get filed against the superior that has been sexually harassed.

Also, claims get filed against the owner of the company. And this is the person who had a duty to protect employees from unwelcome sexual advances or threats.

Quid Pro Quo Law Firm – Ehline Law Firm

Are you the victim of a quid pro quo sexual harassment situation in your workplace or at a California junior or state college or university? Are you harassed by a supervisor, manager, or agent? If so, you should know your rights under California law.

Schedule a Free Telephonic Call With A Los Angeles Quid Pro Quo Attorney

The attorneys at Ehline Law Firm are compassionate and driven. And our commitment is to protect the rights of those sexually harassed in the workplace. Whether it was by a superior who uses sexual advances, threats, or other pressure, we attack your sexual assailant.

So the employee who fears losing their job, benefits, promotions, or fears reprisal calls us. Contact our experienced lawyers. Learn how we can assist in this type of case at (213) 596-9642.

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
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Michael Ehline

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