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Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Employment Attorneys Representing Residents of New York

Many workplaces are competitive, and employees often look for ways to stand out and advance their careers. Unfortunately, some employers take advantage of their employees’ eagerness to succeed and request sexual favors in exchange for a job or promotion. This type of behavior is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment, and it is not only demoralizing but also unlawful. If you were a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, you could be owed substantial damages from your employer, and it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer about your potential claims. The dedicated New York sexual harassment lawyers at Gerstman Schwartz are adept at helping people who suffered harm pursue justice.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Defined

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that essentially means something in exchange for something else. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a person in a place of power in a workplace, such as an owner or supervisor, requires sexual favors from a current or prospective employee in exchange for an advantageous employment decision. For example, a supervisor may advise an employee that a promotion is contingent on the employee submitting to the employer’s unwanted sexual advances. Quid pro quo sexual harassment also occurs when an adverse employment action is taken against an employee due to his or her rejection of sexual advances. An adverse employment action is an act that causes a person to suffer economic losses, such as termination, demotion, denial of a promotion, or refusing to hire someone. Notably, sexual harassment is not limited to any gender or sexual orientation, and anyone can engage in or be a victim of sexual harassment.

Laws Regarding Sexual Harassment

All types of sexual harassment, including quid pro quo, are prohibited by federal, state, and local laws. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) bar employers from discriminating against employees based on gender, which includes sexual harassment. Additionally, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) explicitly states that harassment based on a protected class, such as gender or sex, is an unlawful discriminatory practice. Title VII applies to employers with at least 15 employees, but the other laws cover smaller employers.

In many instances, a victim of sexual harassment will be able to seek damages from his or her employer by alleging violations of Title VII, the NYSHRL, and the NYCHRL in a civil lawsuit, but the precise claims asserted will depend on the facts surrounding the harassment. Generally, however, to recover damages under a quid pro quo sexual harassment theory, a plaintiff must establish that he or she was employed by the defendant or applied for a job with the defendant and that the harasser made unwelcome sexual advances toward the plaintiff. The plaintiff must also prove that certain terms of employment were contingent on their response to the harasser’s sexual requests or advances and that the harasser was acting as an agent of the defendant at the time of the alleged conduct. Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that he or she suffered harm that was substantially caused by the harasser’s conduct.

Speak to a Capable Sexual Harassment Attorney in New York

Employers who pressure workers to engage in sexual conduct to obtain or keep a job can be held liable for quid pro quo sexual harassment. Anyone harmed by such behavior should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. At Gerstman Schwartz, our New York attorneys can advise you about your rights and help you pursue the full extent of compensation recoverable under the law. We regularly represent victims of sexual harassment in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You can contact us to schedule a confidential meeting via our form online or by calling us at our New York City office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170.

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