What Constitutes Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

A man harassing a woman sitting on a chair

Workplace sexual harassment is something many people struggle to define, but it actually is more straightforward than people often assume. Sexual harassment typically either involves the solicitation of sexual favors in the workplace or the creation of a hostile work environment through abusive language, suggestive jokes, or other inappropriate behavior.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to employers, managers, co-workers and even suppliers or clients who try to leverage their professional position to demand sexual favors or gratification from someone else in the workplace. This type of sexual harassment can take many forms, but every form of this kind of behavior is inappropriate.

No one should ask you for personal favors in return for job-related rewards

Depending on the nature of your relationship with the person harassing you and the kind of job you perform, quid pro quo harassment could look very different. If a client says they’ll place an extra-large order if you agree to go out for drinks, that’s an example of quid pro quo harassment.

Other forms could include a manager who demands sexual favors during a performance review or as part of the interview process for a promotion or raise. Even if the request is something as simple as a date, it should never have an impact on your compensation or success in the workplace.

Proving quid pro quo harassment can be difficult if there are no witnesses. That is why maintaining careful records of each inappropriate request and comment can be very important to proving that such harassment occurred later if you need to take legal action.