In the ideal work world, people are rewarded, recognized, and promoted based on their knowledge, skills, and attributes. In fact, this principle is such a standard; it is used as the primary basis for selection in every type of valid human resources training internationally. However, in reality, bias and favoritism are very present in the workplace, especially where there is a power relationship present, and those on the lower rung depend on, the higher level to both maintain their employment as well as have any chance to move ahead. This imbalance can lead to harassment problems; one of the most prevalent is quid pro quo harassment.
What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?
A quid pro quo harassment situation tries to take on the appearance of being entered willingly. The perpetrator doesn’t force the situation, as in an assault; instead, he or she presents the victim with a choice – give in and cooperate and gain benefits, or refuse and be ignored, ostracized, and even demoted or fired. For those highly dependent on their career position for a paycheck, especially single-income earners, the situation is not much of a choice at all. Avoidance without a negative impact is only possible by finding comparable employment elsewhere (which is what ultimately happens on the first chance to get out of the situation).
One of the most vivid examples of quid pro quo harassment has been in the movie industry, where actors and actresses have been informally expected to provide sexual favors to producers and industry heavyweights in exchange for being cast in big roles and parts. The trade is obvious – comply and have an acting career success or refuse and be rejected for any viable parts. As in the notorious case of Harvey Weinstein, the abuse and harassment can go on for years because of the power imbalance involved.
There is a Remedy Under the Law
Fortunately, those who have been a victim of quid pro quo harassment don’t need to stay silent to protect their careers. The law has defined such harassment as illegal and punishable under civil law and, in some circumstances, even criminal. Not only can victims find protection from retaliation, but they can also recover damages, especially where their eventual refusal to comply triggers negative reactions in the form of income loss, stress, mental harm, loss of upward mobility and profitability, and even defamation. That said, it takes help from a San Diego quid pro quo attorney to make recovery happen.
Legal Help is a Necessity in Quid Pro Quo Cases
Because of the adversarial nature of the law, the victim needs representation to bring a case of recovery against a supervisor or employer who engaged in harassment or let it happen in their workplace. The expertise of a qualified attorney becomes essential, both to navigate the court procedural system as well as to argue the merits of the victim’s case. While ultimately, the matter may be settled before ever reaching trial, representation is essential for victim’s ability to defend themselves and seek accountability for their harasser.
Featured Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay