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Have you heard of quid pro quo sexual harassment?

When you started your job, you were probably optimistic regarding your opportunities for advancement, the chance to participate in new opportunities and to work in a friendly and relatively stress-free environment. That vision may even have seemed like a reality for a while.

Then, something changed. Your supervisor or manager began making inappropriate comments and perhaps even made sexual overtures toward you. You were able to ignore it for quite some time. However, when you wanted a raise, a promotion or some other benefit from your employment, your boss told you that you couldn't get something for nothing. Perhaps you faced a reprimand or termination, and your boss agreed not to follow through if you gave him or her something in return.

You could get what you want, but at what cost?

Your supervisor or manager told you that, in order to get that promotion, a raise or other work benefit, you had to provide sexual favors. At first, you may have thought he or she was joking. Granted, that "joke" would be in poor taste, but you could live with that. However, your boss became more insistent, and now you have to make a choice.

You now realize that you just became the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, but you may not be sure what to do next. You do not have to comply with your boss' demands for sexual favors. You can file a complaint, but you fear that your boss will retaliate against you and terminate you. That would also violate both federal and California laws regarding sexual harassment.

What you need to show in your complaint

When it comes to quid pro quo sexual harassment claims, you must show the following:

  • You work or worked for the company in question.
  • Your boss was a supervisor or manager of the company at the time of the harassment.
  • Your boss made unwanted sexual advances toward you.
  • Through conduct or words, your boss promised you certain job benefits if you performed sexual favors.
  • Your boss made decisions regarding your employment based on your rejection or acceptance.
  • You suffered substantial harm, such as denial of a promotion or termination of your employment.
  • Your boss' actions substantially contributed to the harm you suffered.

Providing evidence that your boss requested sexual favors in exchange for some benefit may be problematic. It will take more than just your word. You may find it advantageous to make use of the legal resources at your disposal to protect your rights and pursue the resolution to the matter that you desire.

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