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What does quid pro quo mean?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Employment Law

There are different types of sexual harassment that can occur on the job. One is known as quid pro quo. It is important to know what this means, especially if you’re considering your legal options because you believe you’re being harassed as an employee.

In Latin, quid pro quo essentially just means something for something else. It denotes an exchange. The harassment that takes place is not necessarily just one-sided, but a type of manipulation.

How does this take place?

To make it easier to see how this may happen, consider a scenario where a CEO becomes interested in their secretary. There is a power imbalance between the two of them. The CEO decides to use their position of power to get what they want.

In this example, the CEO goes to the secretary and says that they can have a promotion or a raise, helping them with the advancement of their professional career and providing financial compensation, in exchange for having a sexual relationship with their boss at work.

Even if the relationship never takes place, it is still sexual harassment if the CEO tries to pressure the workers who are under them – like the aforementioned secretary. The power imbalance is a serious issue that means that the worker is not being treated fairly. In fact, if they refuse the proposed relationship, they may fear some type of retaliation, such as losing their job.

What options do you have?

Have you found yourself in this position? If so, it can certainly be concerning and frustrating as you worry about both your personal safety and the status of your career. Rest assured that you do have rights as an employee, and it’s important for you to understand exactly what legal steps you can take at this time.


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