Quid pro quo sexual harassment, as I’ve discussed previously, is just one form of sexual harassment (the other primary method being unwanted sexual advances). Quid pro quo means “something for something.” With quid pro quo sexual harassment, a manager or owner makes a demand upon the employee, typically asking for sexual or romantic favors, in exchange for some workplace benefit (called a term or condition of employment) like better hours, raises, or promotions OR the employee is punished for failing to grant those sexual favors.
What are the Requirements to Prove a Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Case?
The elements for a claim of quid pro quo sexual harassment for South Carolina employees are:
1. The employee is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (i.e., the company has at least 15 employees);
2. The employee was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment;
3. The harassment was based on the employee’s sex;
4. The employee’s reaction to the harassment affected tangible aspects of the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; and
5. The company knew or should have known of the harassment but did not take steps to stop it.
Key Issues in Quid Pro Quo Cases
The fourth element is the main consideration in a quid pro quo case. Was the employee required to react in a certain way to the proposition? And would that reaction determine whether the employee received the benefit? For example, a manager tells the employee she can have the better shift with favorable hours, but only if she has sex with the manager. If the employee’s refusal means she doesn’t get the better shift, then “that’s a bingo.”
The final element (Did the company know?) is automatically met if the harasser is a manager or supervisor. If the harasser is a co-worker, then the employee will need to report the harassment to see if the company will properly investigate and take care of the issue. Generally, the first step to any sexual harassment legal claim is to report the harassment to HR (in writing and from the employee’s personal email address, preferably) anyway.
However, if you are a South Carolina employee being subjected to quid pro quo sexual harassment, then you should speak to an experienced South Carolina sexual harassment lawyer about your legal options, as well as possible damages related to what you’ve experienced.