Under the law in New Jersey, you have the right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace and can seek compensation if you have been victimized. Your claim can be based on two different legal theories: the creation of a hostile environment based on sex; and what is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment, from the Latin for “this for that.” This blog post looks specifically at what constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment, and what you can do when you have been the victim of that type of workplace discrimination.
The Basis for a Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Claim
In essence, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when there is either a promise of a work benefit in exchange for sexual favors or the threat of a work-related punishment or sanction for the refusal to provide sexual favors. The person making the offer must be a supervisor or superior, one who has the power and ability to impose work sanctions or grant benefits. This is frequently an immediate supervisor or manager, but may be the owner of the company, or someone who has influence over your boss or the owner.
To have a claim for sexual harassment, you don’t need to show that you engaged in any sexual act. Quid pro quo sexual harassment has occurred if your boss, a supervisor or superior made the offer to provide you certain benefits (or to punish you) in exchange for sex. The proposed benefits can include anything related to your work, from hiring and promotions to eligibility for raises, access to training, a new office or additional fringe benefits. Conversely, if a supervisor threatens you with termination, a demotion, the denial of a raise, an undesirable job assignment, or the denial of access to training or other benefits, because you won’t consent to have sex, that can be the basis for quid pro quo sexual harassment claim.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment may involve alleged conduct by a male or female employee, and the harassment can be heterosexual or same-sex harassment.
Contact Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to people in New Jersey who believe they have been subject to quid pro quo sexual harassment. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.