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The insidious nature of quid pro quo sexual harassment

Sexual harassment often looks like unwanted touching or co-workers making disgusting comments or jokes at the expense of someone else. However, some forms of sexual harassment might initially seem like an opportunity to the victim.

People working in management have no issue with leveraging their position for personal benefits. A worker’s gender or sexuality should not impact their job security, compensation or advancement. If you have had to deal with a co-worker, manager or client trying to solicit you into performing sex acts, that situation could well constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Victims may not feel like they have the choice of saying no

Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves a business owner, a manager or someone else with authority over a person’s career trying to use that position for their own romantic or sexual gratification. A boss might ask someone out on a date or ask for certain sexual favors as part of a performance review or an evaluation for promotion.

Some workers may initially feel like this situation presents an opportunity for career advancement and acquiesce because they want their career to move forward. Others might desperately be worried about the implications of saying no and feel like they have no choice. Still others might refuse, only to wind up dealing with a bad performance review or losing that promotion. Even those who comply might not receive the benefits promised in return.

Victims of quid pro quo sexual harassment, including both of those who give in to demands and those who refuse them, may have rights after the harassment they’ve experienced at work.