Frequently Misunderstood Truths About Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
There are two main categories of sexual harassment under Illinois law: hostile work environment harassment and quid pro quo harassment. A hostile work environment is caused by severe or pervasive remarks and behavior of a sexual, demeaning, or discriminatory nature, which affect a person’s ability to do his or her job. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a person of authority such as a supervisor or boss uses his or her position to gain sexual contact with an employee or job candidate. This unlawful behavior often goes unreported in part due to the general public’s misunderstanding of what quid pro quo actually is and what they can do if they have been a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Requests for Sexual Favors Do Not Have to Be Explicit
Most of the perpetrators of quid pro quo sexual harassment are aware that their behavior is illegal and could potentially cost them their job. Consequently, most employers, supervisors, managers, or other authority figures do not explicitly ask employees for sexual favors. Instead, they imply that the employee would gain some type of benefit if he or she complied with the perpetrator’s offer for romantic or sexual contact. For example, a hiring manager may ask a job candidate out on a date during a job interview and imply that if the prospective employee goes on the date, he or she will have a better chance of getting the job.
Giving into the Harasser’s Request Does Not Negate Sexual Harassment
Some people assume that they do not have a valid sexual harassment claim if they submit to the harasser’s request for sexual contact. On the contrary, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that an employee is still a victim of sexual harassment even if he or she was not physically forced to participate in sexual activities. Often, an employee gives into a harasser’s sexual advances because he or she fears retaliation in the form of demotion or termination. Fortunately, federal and state laws protect employees against retaliation for reporting or refusing to comply with sexual harassment.
Both Men and Women Can Be Perpetrators and Victims of Quid Pro Quo
When sexual harassment is depicted in television, movies, and books, the harasser is typically male and the victim is female. It is important to note that sexual harassment can occur between people of any gender or sexual orientation. Men have just as many rights as women when it comes to workplace sexual harassment. However, male victims often face unique challenges when reporting sexual harassment perpetrated by a female authority figure, that is why it is important to hire an experienced attorney to represent your best interests.
Contact a Wheaton Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Victims of sexual harassment may be entitled to compensatory damages for their lost wages, reduced future earning capacity, and medical expenses. They may also be entitled to compensation for the emotional distress caused by the harassment. If you have experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment at work, contact MKFM Law to learn how we can help you pursue damages for your pain and suffering. Call our office today at 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our DuPage County harassment and discrimination attorneys.