Favor for a Favor” (Quid Pro Quo) Sexual Harassment in the California Workplace
Quid pro quo harassment is a type of workplace harassment that occurs when an employee is
subjected to unwanted advances or requests for sexual favors in exchange for some type of
work-related benefit or advantage. This type of harassment is illegal under both state and
federal law, and it can have serious consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator.
If you are experiencing quid pro quo harassment in the workplace, it’s important to take action
to protect your rights and your job. In this blog post, we’ll provide step by step instructions on
how to handle quid pro quo harassment in the California workplace.
Step 1: Know Your Rights
The first step in handling quid pro quo harassment is understanding your rights under the law.
In California, quid pro quo harassment is prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing
Act (FEHA). Under the FEHA, it is unlawful for an employer or supervisor to demand or request
sexual favors in exchange for any type of work-related benefit or advantage, such as
promotions, raises, or job assignments.
In addition to the FEHA, quid pro quo harassment is also prohibited under federal law under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Step 2: Document the Harassment
If you are experiencing quid pro quo harassment in the workplace, it’s important to document
the harassment as soon as possible. Documentation can be critical in helping you prove your
case if you decide to take legal action. While documentation is not legally required to win your
case, you will want to have solid evidence of the harassment to prove your claims and not just
have it be a credibility contest.
To document the harassment, you should:
Keep a written record of each incident of harassment, including the date, time, location,
and details of what happened.
Save any relevant emails, texts, or other written communication that relates to the
Keep a record of any witnesses to the harassment.
If possible, try to get a copy of any audio or video recordings of the harassment.
Step 3: Report the Harassment
If you are experiencing quid pro quo harassment, it’s important to report the harassment to
your employer or HR as soon as possible. Your employer has a legal obligation to take prompt
and appropriate action to address the harassment and prevent it from continuing.
To report the harassment, you should:
Inform your supervisor or HR about the harassment in writing.
Provide as much detail as possible about the harassment, including the dates, times,
locations, and any witnesses to the harassment.
If possible, include any documentation of the harassment that you have collected.
If your supervisor is the person who is harassing you, you should report the harassment
to a higher-level supervisor or to HR.
Step 4: Consider Your Options for Legal Action
If your employer does not take appropriate action to address the quid pro quo harassment, or if
you are uncomfortable reporting the harassment to your employer, you may have the option to
file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The DFEH and the EEOC are government agencies that are responsible for enforcing laws
against workplace harassment and discrimination. They can investigate your complaint and
take appropriate action if they find that your rights have been violated.
If you decide to file a complaint with the DFEH or the EEOC, you should do so as soon as
possible. There are time limits for filing these types of complaints, and if you wait too long, you
may lose your right to seek legal action.
Step 5: Seek Help from an Employment Lawyer
If you are experiencing quid pro quo harassment in the workplace, it’s important to seek help
from an experienced employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can help you understand
your rights and options for legal action, and can represent you in court or during negotiations
with your employer.
When seeking help from an employment lawyer, it’s important to choose an attorney who has
experience handling quid pro quo harassment cases in California. Look for an attorney who is
knowledgeable about the FEHA and other relevant laws, and who has a track record of success
in these types of cases.
Your attorney can help you navigate the legal process and can provide you with guidance and
support throughout your case. They can also help you determine whether you have a strong
case for legal action, and can advise you on the best course of action for your situation.
Quid pro quo harassment is a serious issue that can have a major impact on your career and
your overall well-being. If you are experiencing quid pro quo harassment in the workplace, it’s
important to take action to protect your rights and your job. By following these steps and
seeking help from an experienced employment lawyer, you can take control of the situation
and seek justice for the harassment that you have suffered.