| Read Time: 3 minutes | Sexual Harassment
What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one of several types of sexual harassment in Arizona. It refers primarily to situations where someone in your workplace offers you a benefit (or threatens harm) to get sexual favors from you. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Arizona Law 41-1463 work together to forbid all kinds of sexual harassment, including quid pro quo sexual harassment. 

Because of its especially coercive and manipulative nature, quid pro quo sexual harassment can be difficult to handle. It also exacts a steep emotional toll on the victim. Read on to learn more about quid pro quo sexual harassment in Arizona. We’ll discuss its legal definition and review a hypothetical example. Contact one of our outstanding Arizona employment attorneys immediately for additional assistance. 

What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in Arizona?

Because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law, quid pro quo sexual harassment has the same meaning in Arizona as in other states. “Quid pro quo” is one of many old Latin phrases that survive within the modern legal vocabulary. The phrase means “something given or received for something else.” When we apply this concept to sexual harassment, the meaning becomes clear. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines quid pro quo harassment as a situation where “submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct” becomes the “basis for employment decisions affecting” the victim.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment comes in two distinct categories. In the first category, a supervisor or manager offers career benefits in exchange for sexual favors. They might provide you with office perks, a pay raise, or a promotion. If quid pro quo harassment occurs in a job applicant context, the hiring manager may offer the victim the job in exchange for sexual favors. In the second category, a supervisor threatens negative employment actions unless the employee gives sexual favors. For instance, your manager may threaten to fire you unless you sleep with them. Or they may threaten to reassign you unless you send them explicit photos. 

Whatever the case, remember sexual harassment is against the law. You have rights. Don’t be afraid to use them.

Martha’s Dilemma: An Example of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Let’s unpack a hypothetical real-world example of quid pro sexual harassment to illustrate how you can respond to bad actors. Martha Abernathy has been working for ZZZ Corporation for three years. Her colleagues deeply respect her, and she produces outstanding work. About two years ago, she received a promotion to Assistant Vice Director. Her boss is the company’s Director. Three weeks after her promotion, he began making overt sexual advances towards Martha. After she rejected his first advances, he offered to “sweeten the deal” by promoting her to Senior Vice Director. Although the position would be a significant pay increase, Martha maintained her integrity and refused. She kept a detailed journal, recording essential details about each encounter. She also kept a list of witnesses. 

A few days later, the Director angrily called Martha into his office. He said he’d received a complaint that she had used racial slurs in the office. He said he could fire her for these alleged violations. However, he offered to “wipe the slate clean” if she gave him sexual favors. Martha knew these charges were bogus but feared the Director could coerce another employee to provide false testimony. Still, she refused the Director’s advances and immediately contacted Shields Petitti & Zoldan, PLC.

Once at the firm, Martha received a detailed legal analysis of her claim. Her attorney also gave her a clear view of her legal options. She decided to file an EEOC claim against the Director. She worked with her attorney to collect essential evidence. Her attorney obtained statements from Martha’s witnesses and reviewed her journal. He also obtained emails showing ZZZ Corporation knew about the Director’s behavior because of previous incidents. Before long, ZZZ Corporation settled with Martha for a sizable sum and terminated the Director. Now, Martha’s career is back on track. 

Let Shields Petitti & Zoldan, PLC Be Your Ally Against Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment of any kind is entirely unacceptable in the workplace. It’s also against the law. We know how emotionally difficult it is to be a victim of sexual harassment. However, we also know that the best way to overcome harassment is to fight it. So partner with us today to vindicate your rights and restore your reputation. We’ll apply our decades of legal experience to develop your case skillfully and maximize your chances of success. Whether we settle out of court or litigate your case, we’ll do whatever it takes to get you justice. Call us today or contact us online to get going.

Author Photo

Attorney Michael Zoldan provides legal counsel to individuals and small businesses throughout Arizona. Mr. Zoldan’s practice is based on aggressive and detail-oriented representation, focusing on employment discrimination, wage and hour disputes, harassment, and wrongful termination. Prior to forming Shields Petitti & Zoldan, Mr. Zoldan worked for numerous law firms where he had an opportunity to hone his litigation skills by working on multiple litigation cases at a time with some of the most skilled litigators in the state.

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