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DuPage County sexual harassment lawyerNo one should ever be expected to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. Discrimination on the basis of sex and gender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and numerous other federal and Illinois state laws. Unfortunately, many employees are unaware of their right to report harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is one type of harassment prohibited by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you have been a victim of quid pro quo or another type of sexual harassment at work, contact a sexual harassment attorney for help.

Victims of Quid Pro Quo Harassment May Be Employees or Potential Employees

The term “quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer, supervisor, or another person of authority attempts to trade a job-related benefit for sexual contact. The harassing party may imply or outrightly state that an employee will gain a favorable shift, work assignment, positive performance review, promotion, salary increase, or other work-related advantages if he or she tolerates the harassing party’s sexual advances. The harassing party may also threaten negative work consequences, such as a poor performance review or termination, if the employee does not submit to the sexual advances.

A victim of quid pro quo can also be a potential employee who has not yet been hired by the company. For example, an interviewer may make a pass at an applicant during a job interview and imply that the applicant will be hired if he or she complies with the sexual advances. It is very important to note that words, as well as actions, may constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment. An employer or supervisor does not have to explicitly state that a work benefit is contingent upon sexual contact in order to be guilty of quid pro quo harassment.

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Chicago workplace sexual harassment attorneysMcDonald’s restaurants can be found across the globe. The fast food company is arguably one of the most successful businesses in the history of the world. However, the company has also recently become notorious for the sexual harassment claims made against supervisors and employees. Recently, the CEO and president of McDonald’s was terminated after it was discovered that he had violated company policy through a romantic relationship with an employee. His termination highlights the ever-growing importance of professional boundaries in the workplace and reminds us that sexual harassment is still a major issue in the U.S. and around the world.  

Understanding Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

There are two types of sexual harassment recognized by the law: hostile environment sexual harassment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when sexual or offensive comments, jokes, or actions make a work environment intolerable. Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a superior trades or attempts to trade sexual interactions for work benefits. For example, a shift manager may imply that a worker will get preferential treatment if he or she accepts the manager’s sexual advances. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can also occur when a superior threatens a negative work consequence if the employee does not accept his or her advances.

Some employees may tolerate unacceptable behavior from a superior because they are afraid of being demoted, transferred, receiving a poor performance review, or fired. It is essential that employees understand that they do not have to tolerate unlawful behavior like this at work.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysFor many of us, our career is more than just a paycheck. It is also what gives us purpose and helps us grow as a person. When you have worked hard to get a certain job, you may be willing to do almost anything to keep it. Unfortunately, some employers take advantage of this and attempt to gain sexual favors from their employees. To be clear, asking an employee for sexual contact in exchange for workplace benefits is illegal sexual harassment. If you have faced this situation, you should know that you are not alone and that there are resources to help you.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

The two main types of sexual harassment under the law are hostile work environment harassment and quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo is a Latin term which means “this for that.” Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer, boss, or supervisor attempts to trade sexual contact for work benefits. This type of harassment can happen when an employer makes sexual activity with a prospective employee a requirement for getting the job or it can happen when a current employee is solicited by a superior.

Sexual Harassment May Be Subtle

This type of harassment does not have to be explicit. Even the implication that sexual activity will result in work benefits or continued employment may be enough to meet the legal definition of sexual harassment. For example, if a boss makes a sexual advance toward an employee and says something like, “I know you cannot afford to lose your job,” it is reasonable to assume the boss means that he or she will fire the employee if the employee does not agree to the sexual contact.

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DuPage County sexual harassment attorneysUnder Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to discriminate against any employee on the basis of his or her race, color, religion, sex or nationality. This means that an employer cannot use a person’s gender as an excuse to treat him or poorly. Sadly, sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a common occurrence, as a recent high-profile example demonstrates.

In April, the controversial television host Bill O’Reilly was fired from the Fox News Channel after five women claimed that they were harassed by him. O’Reilly allegedly made inappropriate remarks about a woman’s skin color, allegedly made lewd comments to other women, and allegedly even called women on the phone while he was masturbating. The women were allegedly told that if they complained that they would “pay so dearly that [they]’ll wish [they] had never been born.” Reports indicate that O’Reilly and the network have paid out more than $13 million in settlements related to the allegations.

Two Types of Sexual Harassment

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