Sexual harassment is illegal under New Jersey law. There are two main types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and sexual harassment related to a hostile work environment. Of the two types, quid pro quo sexual harassment is the most easily recognized, and both men and women can become victims. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is treated very seriously under New Jersey law, and often, an employer will be subject to strict liability in a quid pro quo sexual harassment case.
“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that,” and cases of quid pro quo sexual harassment involve the proposition of an exchange of an employment benefit for sex. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can occur in several different ways. The first type of quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs in a situation in which a job benefit is offered in exchange for sexual favors or sexual activity. For example, if a manager called an employee into the office and proposed sex in exchange for a promotion, pay raise, or time off, then the manager would be guilty of the first type of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Similarly, the second type of quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a job benefit is threatened and an employee is led to believe that the only way to prevent losing that benefit is to provide sexual favors or engage in sexual activity with a superior. For example, if a supervisor threatens to fire an employee unless he or she agrees to sexual activity, the supervisor would be guilty of the second type of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
A third type of quid pro quo sexual harassment can occur between co-workers who do not have a supervisory relationship. If a worker is threatened by a co-worker and believes that he or she must engage in sexual activity with that co-worker to avoid the consequences of the threat, the employer may still be liable for the sexual harassment if the behavior was known or should have been known to the employer and no steps were taken to stop it.
Although each type of quid pro quo sexual harassment is slightly different, they are all illegal. If a quid pro quo sexual harassment victim brings forward a successful claim, he or she may be eligible for various remedies offered by the law. These remedies include medical expenses, lost wages, back pay, front pay, other monetary damages, attorneys’ fees, emotional distress, and punitive damages.
In order to recover for a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim, a victim must initiate legal action before the statute of limitations has run out. If the statute of limitations expires, the right to recovery may be forfeited. If you believe you have become the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment, therefore, is important that you promptly contact an experienced employment attorney, who will help you to secure your rights and obtain justice.