When discussing workplace sexual harassment, the term “quid pro quo” will sometimes come up. This denotes a specific type of harassment.
Essentially, “quid pro quo” just means making an exchange. It doesn’t have to be used in a sexual harassment case. It means that one thing is being exchanged for another, perhaps to the benefit of both parties. This, at least, is how the sexual harassment is being framed. The harasser wants to make an exchange with their victim.
Do you want the promotion or not?
An example of this could be if a female employee is up for a promotion. She’s not sure if she’s going to get it or not, and her male boss calls her in for a meeting. In that meeting, he makes sexual advances toward her. She tries to rebuff these advances, but then her boss asks her whether or not she wants to get the promotion.
The implication here is very clear. If she will provide sexual favors or give in to those advances, her boss is going to give her the promotion. If she refuses to do so, he will give that promotion to someone else. She may even fear for the stability of her job on the whole, worrying that her boss will try to replace her with someone who may be more open to these advances.
Of course, this is not something that should ever happen to employees. It’s a complete violation of their rights. But it’s important to understand how it does happen so that you know what red flags to watch out for. If it’s happened to you, you also need to know about all the legal steps you can take at this time.