Sexual harassment comes in many forms. When your employer, boss, or supervisor expects you to go out on a date, have a sexual relationship, or perform some other favor in exchange for a promotion or a raise, it is known as quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo is a Latin term that means “this for that,” or “something for something.”
In California, quid pro quo harassment is specifically outlawed by the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Under Title 2 CCR section 7287.6 (D), both job applicants and current employees are protected from unwanted sexual advances which condition an employment benefit upon an exchange of sexual favors. If a person is expected to submit to unwanted sexual advances or is asked to perform favors in order to receive a better position, a raise, or other benefits, the employer can be liable for damages under California law.
This type of harassment can be blatant or subtle. While some employers may make outright requests, other may expect an employee to put up with unwanted touching, like an arm around the shoulder or an inappropriate caress.
For quid pro quo harassment to be illegal, the employee does not have to actually submit to the employer’s demands. Even making such a request a single time can create a hostile work environment for the employee and is legally actionable. If the person was employed or seeking employment, was harassed by a supervisor, manager, or other person working on behalf of the employer, and it was clear that some job benefit was conditioned on submitted to unwanted sexual advances, then that person may file a lawsuit.
If a person is a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, he or she can receive damages in the form of compensation, including payments for lost earnings or profits, and compensation for physical pain or mental suffering caused by the employer. The company can also be liable for punitive damages if the harassment was severe or pervasive throughout the company. Finally, the employee can be reinstated if he or she was terminated for refusing to comply with the unwanted sexual advances.
Victims of sexual harassment should be aware that it is illegal for an employer to fire a person for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company, even if he or she does not win the lawsuit. Any actions taking in retaliation for the suit are also illegal and can be actionable in court.
If you were a victim of sexual harassment, you have important rights to protect. Call Labor Law Office, APC to learn more about your legal options and to speak with a professional sexual harassment lawyer in Fresno.
Sacramento, CA 95821