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When ‘something for something’ is something to be concerned about

Category: Sexual Harassment

There are many ambitious workers in California who work late, work hard and to do whatever they can to be successful in their careers. The fear of losing a job, missing out on a promotion or not earning enough money can be a powerful motivator.

Unfortunately, there are some employers who will prey on this fear by trying to manipulate workers into engaging in unlawful or undesirable behaviors. In many cases, this manipulation takes the form of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Basically, this means that an employer will demand something from an employee (often a sexual favor) and promise that in return, that employee will be treated favorably. But employees and employers should know that such harassment is grounds for legal or disciplinary action.

Employees who are put in this position can be very scared about what will happen if they deny the demands by employer. They can feel like they have no choice but to comply with the request in order to save their job and their paycheck.

But it is crucial to remember that workers do have a choice; and they have rights that must not be violated in the workplace. The State of California Department of Justice firmly states that workplace harassment, including quid pro quo harassment, will not be tolerated. The agency has a “zero tolerance” policy in regards to this type of behavior, which means that if an employee is subjected to a harassing work environment even one time, the agency can take corrective action against the harasser.

Knowing that there are laws and penalties in place should be of some comfort to employees who are worried about being mistreated on the job. But being in the middle of this situation can make it difficult to see outside of it.

But the fact is that quid pro quo harassment is unlawful. No worker should be made to feel that his or her job and income is in jeopardy for not complying with inappropriate requests. Any person who has been in this situation before or is currently going through it should know that legal resources are available to help protect a worker’s rights. Speaking with an attorney is one such resource, and doing so can help workers understand what they need to do in order to exercise their rights.

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