It’s common for people to be put off by the phrase “quid pro quo” because they do not understand what it means. The term is a Latin phrase that directly translates to “something for something else.” Its meaning is simple. It refers to any situation in which a person in power offers a certain benefit in return for some type of favor. Under the law, the phrase is used to describe situations in which this is done as an abuse of power.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one of the two types of sexual harassment that can occur in the workplace. If you are unsure of whether your experience constitutes a form of quid pro quo sexual harassment, it is a good idea to read common examples and to reflect on the nature of your situation.

Common examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment

A classic example of quid pro quo sexual harassment would be a situation in which an employee is offered a benefit such as a promotion or a pay rise. However, to gain this benefit, they are told that they need to give a sexual or romantic favor in return.

Sexual harassment can also be considered to be quid pro quo even if a benefit is not offered. For example, if a manager tells an employee that they will be fired or otherwise retaliated against if they do not perform a sexual favor, this constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment.

I believe I was a victim of sexual harassment, but not through quid pro quo. What are my options?

If you were not subject to quid pro quo sexual harassment, your other option is to take legal action by arguing that a hostile environment was created at work because of the way you were treated. For example, you could show that due to the sexual jokes you were regularly subjected to, you felt extremely uncomfortable in the workplace and unable to concentrate on your job.

Enduring sexual harassment in the workplace can affect your confidence and your self-esteem, as well as potentially stopping you from progressing in your career. This is why legal action can help you to protect yourself going forward.