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Quid Pro Quo Harassment

New Jersey Quid Pro Quo Lawyers Help Victims of Managers’ Sexual Advances

Hackensack attorneys fight sexual harassment in the workplace

The disparity in power between managers and their subordinates can lead to situations where bosses try to take advantage of employees in order to obtain sexual favors. The New Jersey quid pro quo lawyers of Deutsch, Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack strive to turn the tables, aggressively taking measures to halt harassment and to win fair financial compensation for the victims.

What is quid pro quo harassment?

Quid pro quo — literally “something for something” — means a favor or thing of value granted in return for a service rendered. As a type of sexual harassment, it means a manager or supervisor holds out the promise of a raise, promotion or other job benefit on condition of a subordinate granting sexual favors. Implicit in the offer is a threat of adverse action if favors are withheld. Quid pro quo differs from the other major type of sexual harassment — hostile work environment — which is sexually themed speech and/or conduct so severe and pervasive that it interferes with a reasonable employee’s ability to perform their job, even if not directed at them.

Examples of quid pro quo harassment

Quid pro quo harassment consists of three main elements:

  • Position of power — The harasser is someone capable or seemingly capable of delivering on a threat or promise, even if not the victim’s direct supervisor. For instance, he or she might be the head of the division or department where the victim works.
  • Unwelcome advances — Harassment can consist of words, touching or other communication or conduct by a superior that the victim does not welcome or encourage.
  • Condition of employment — The superior’s advances must be such that they signal to the victim that there are benefits to cooperating and detriments for refusing. Benefits can include promotions, pay raises or bonuses. Detriments can include termination, demotions and denial of raises or bonuses.

Quid pro quo harassment is sometimes subtle and requires careful investigation to uncover.

Employer responsibilities and liability

An employer can be liable for quid pro quo harassment if it fails to take reasonable steps to prevent it. Such steps include the following:

  • Establishing clear policies to discourage and punish harassing conduct
  • Implementing those policies in order to maintain a safe work environment
  • Training its managers and staff to avoid any type of harassment
  • Promptly addressing harassment complaints from employees

If your employer fails in these responsibilities and you suffer quid pro quo harassment, we can take effective action to hold the harasser and the company liable.

How a lawyer can prove quid pro quo harassment

To win a quid pro quo harassment case, there must be a connection between the sexual advances and a change in the employee’s wages or working conditions. The types of evidence we use to prove this link include:

  • Physical evidence, such as emails, photos and video or audio recordings
  • Testimony by the victim and other eyewitnesses
  • Notes and journals that the victim keeps to memorialize conversations and actions

Once we file a lawsuit, we may be able to obtain further evidence from your employer, such as your personnel file, and to question your harasser and other employees.

Reporting and remedies of quid pro quo harassment in New Jersey

Your first step should be to complain to your HR department or to the highest company officer you can contact. The company should be given the chance to take corrective action. If that proves ineffective, you can file a formal complaint with the state Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In New Jersey, the DCR remedy is often the more efficient route to take. The agency will conduct its own investigation and can grant you such remedies as back pay, front pay, job reinstatement and other damages for your losses, including emotional distress.

Contact a New Jersey quid pro quo harassment attorney

If you are the victim of quid pro quo harassment, the experienced attorneys of Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack, New Jersey will fight for you. To schedule a consultation, call 551-245-8894 or contact us online.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

Carly Skarbnik Meredith Attorney Photo
Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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