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Attorneys in New York Help Employees Recover Damages for Quid Pro Quo Sex Harassment

At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., we firmly believe that the workplace should be free of harassment, discrimination, bullying, and fear. Employees in New York City, the surrounding boroughs or Long Island should not have to face intimidation, discomfort or threats at their places of employment. There are federal and state laws that make it unlawful to discriminate against and harass employees and co-workers. The same laws provide recourse for workers when they become the targets of mistreatment.

Employees are filing lawsuits against employers when they violate one of the many laws that govern workplace discrimination and sex harassment. If you have experienced gender discrimination, sexual harassment or been the victim of retaliation for trying to end such unlawful behavior, Leeds Brown has experienced employment discrimination attorneys who may be able to help you. We can assist you to file a charge with an administrative agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the New York States Human Rights Commission (NYSHRC) and navigate your claim to recover monetary damages or other remedies that may be available.

Sexual Harassment: Hostile Work Environment or Quid Pro Quo?

Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination which is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on sex or gender, and sexual harassment falls under this category. The EEOC has guidelines that define sex harassment as:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Physical conduct or verbal conduct of a sexual nature

Acts of harassment may include a broad range of behavior including blatant unwanted physical touching like hugging and the telling of inappropriate jokes or comments. Victims can be men or women, and the same goes for perpetrators. Sexual harassment can occur between people of different genders or the same gender.

Unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace can be divided into two categories: that which creates a “hostile work environment” for the victim and “quid pro quo.” Federal and state laws prohibit both. All sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace can result in severe and lasting economic, emotional and even physical harm for employees.

Explaining Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

“Quid Pro Quo” is Latin. It translates in English to “this for that” or “something for something.” It refers to the giving of something of value in exchange for something else of value. How does this relate to workplace sex harassment?

Sexual harassment of this type occurs when a supervisor tells or implies to a subordinate employee that a condition of his or her employment will depend on the satisfaction of a sexual demand. A condition of employment or employment decision could involve a pay raise, a new position or promotion, a good review or a bonus. The supervisor may also threaten a negative consequence should the employee not submit to a sexual demand. For instance, the threat of termination, demotion or a bad review may also fall into the quid pro quo category.  Any adverse action the supervisor takes if the employee reports the harassment can form the basis for an unlawful retaliation claim.

Quid pro quo sex harassment can occur between people of the same or different genders and can be carried out by men and women. However, unlike sex harassment that causes a hostile work environment, quid pro quo sex harassment can result from a single sexual demand. At times, that is all it takes to form the basis of a successful claim.

Also unlike the creation of a hostile work environment, quid pro quo sex harassment cannot occur between ordinary co-workers. The perpetrator must have some power over the victim and, therefore, is usually in a supervisory or managerial role.

New York Employment Lawyers Prove Elements of Quid Pro Quo Sex Harassment

A successful sexual harassment case of the quid pro quo variety may, as stated above, be based on one single unlawful act by a superior. The victim must demonstrate two things:

  • That a person of authority (related to your employment) made an unwelcome advance, request for a sexual favor or otherwise sexually harassed you
  • That the person conditioned an aspect of your employment on your response – with a promise of something good or the threat of something bad

For example;

  • Your floor manager tells you that a pay raise is coming your way next month. You say thank you, he winks at you and says “You can thank me at the office party tonight.” Later, you refuse his advance, and you never receive your wage increase.
  • At your interview for a new job, the human resources manager tells you that if you have sex with her, the job is yours.
  • Your boss fires you after you repeatedly tell him you do not want to go on a date with him.
  • Your supervisor suggests that if you want a good review, you should perform a sexual act.
  • When you ask your manager to stop sending you flowers because it makes you uncomfortable, she transfers you to another department to do a job for which you have no experience.

Proving quid pro quo sex harassment under Title VII requires that you be a member of a protected class (in this case sex), that there was an unwelcome sexual advance made by a person with authority, and that it negatively affected your job. Your supervisor may try to justify the adverse employment decision with factors other than refusing the sexual advance such as poor job performance, prior bad reviews and your work history.

Because supervisors, managers, executives and other people in positions of authority “commit” quid pro quo sex harassment, the business entities that employ them may be liable for their actions. Corporations, businesses, and employers are often responsible for the actions of their supervisors and managers.  Employers may also be responsible for sexual harassment by customers or vendors.  You may be able to file a lawsuit against the individual and the employing entity.

Contact Us

Lawyers who file sex harassment claims in New York City and the entire metropolitan area are available for consultation if you have a problem at your place of employment. The respected firm of Leeds Brown has decades of experience assisting employees to file sexual harassment claims and civil lawsuits.

Our hard working, dedicated team of employment discrimination attorneys can help guide you through the process of trying to collect damages for the economic and emotional injuries you have sustained because of sexual harassment. We have a proven track record of achieving excellent results for our clients, and welcome the opportunity to provide you with a free case evaluation.

Contact Leeds Brown, sexual harassment attorneys providing quality representation to victims of workplace discrimination, at 1-800-585-4658. Someone is here to take your call 24/7 so call today.