Quid Pro Quo

Austin Attorneys Assisting Victims of Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo is a form of sexual harassment consisting of discriminatory actions by a supervisor or manager that require an employee to choose between submitting to sexual demands and forfeiting a benefit of employment or promotion. It is prohibited under the Texas Labor Code and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you believe that you have been subjected to quid pro quo harassment in your workplace, you should consult the skilled Austin sexual harassment lawyers at Austin Employment Lawyers, P.C. It may be possible to sue your employer for damages.

Fighting Quid Pro Quo Harassment on the Job

Federal and Texas laws prohibiting quid pro quo harassment protect businesses with a minimum of 15 employees. Quid pro quo roughly translates to "this for that" and involves the trading of sexual favors. Anyone can be a victim of quid pro quo harassment, including people in the LGBTQ community, and similarly, anyone in a position of power in a workplace can be a perpetrator of it.

Your employer can only be held liable for quid pro quo harassment if the person who perpetrated this type of harassment actually had supervisory authority over you or the capacity to influence employment decisions taken against you. Typically, quid pro quo harassment involves the actions of someone with power to act for the company, such as supervisors, managers, and anyone else with authority over the terms and conditions of employment, such as directors or officers. In Texas, the senior management and vice principals are considered the same as the employer for the purposes of liability. An agency relationship will be assumed, in which these high-level employees act for the company and can be held liable for the company if they sexually harass you.

You will need to establish that you suffered unwelcome advances or requests for favors by someone in a position to control an aspect or term or condition of your employment, and submitting to the request was an express or implied condition of getting an employment benefit, or refusing led to a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, termination, failure to promote, benefits, or reassignment to a less favorable group or department.

Quid pro quo harassment can be indirect. For example, if a supervisor in the engineering department asks you, as an employee at a lower level, to have sex with him, and when you refuse, he influences your department head to have you demoted within marketing, this is still quid pro quo harassment.

You will bear the burden of proof on the issue of whether submitting to the unwelcome sexual advances was an implied or express condition of some aspect of your employment. Proof could include your testimony, your contemporaneous written documentation, the testimony of coworkers, and documentation possessed by the employer. Often, these are "he said, she said" situations, making it very important to retain an experienced employment attorney.

If you successfully establish liability, you can recover damages. These may include back pay, front pay, compensatory damages (such as emotional distress), and punitive damages.

Hire an Experienced Austin Lawyer for Your Harassment Claim

If you experience quid pro quo harassment on the job in Austin or beyond, you should consult an employment discrimination attorney. This is a challenging area of law, and it is important to retain knowledgeable and experienced lawyers to protect your rights. Austin Employment Lawyers, P.C. also represents workers in Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg, among other cities. Call us at (512) 271-5527 or use our online form to set up an appointment.

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