“Quid pro quo” translates from Latin to English as “this for that.” The basic idea is that of an exchange. I do something for you, and you, in turn, do something for me. You may have heard the saying, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” This conveys the same underlying message, and it is what is at the heart of quid pro quo sexual harassment claims.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor makes sexual conduct of an employee a condition for employment benefits or advancement, or a condition for avoiding adverse employment action. Adverse employment action may include poor performance reviews and preclusion from advancement or salary increases.
In order to prevail on a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim, a victim must show by a preponderance of the evidence the harasser made unwanted sexual advances or directed behavior of a sexual nature to the purported victim as a condition for receiving concrete employee benefits and/or for avoiding adverse employment action. A “preponderance of the evidence” means that after looking at all the evidence, it is more likely than not that the claimed events occurred.
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