Worker Claims Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment When Promotion “Comes With A Price”
Having represented sexual harassment victims for more than twenty years, our sexual harassment lawyers in Marion County, Florida know that quid pro quo sexual harassment is one of the most egregious forms of sexual harassment. As the court in Nichols v. Frank, 42 F.3d 503 (9th Cir. 1994) explained, “most workers subjected to sexual pressure in the workplace have little means of defense—other than the law” because “for economic reasons, most workers cannot simply abandon their employment—new jobs are hard to find.” In this article, our sexual harassment attorneys in Marion County, Florida explain how the decision in Harvison v. G.A. West & Co., Inc., 2023 WL 2998482 (S.D. Miss. April 18, 2023) demonstrates that federal employment discrimination law protects employees from quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) makes sexual harassment an unlawful employment practice. Courts recognize two types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment sexual harassment; and quid pro quo sexual harassment. Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when sexual harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile working environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee’s submission to or rejection of a supervisor’s sexual advances are used as a basis for an employment decision with respect to the employee. In submission cases, the supervisor indicates that the employee will receive a favorable employment decision, such as an increase in pay or promotion, if the employee submits to the supervisor’s sexual advances. In rejection cases, the supervisor indicates the employee will be subjected to an unfavorable employment decision, such as demotion or termination, if the employee rejects the supervisor’s sexual advances.
Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
In Harvison, a woman named Harvison brought a sexual harassment claim against her former employer, G.A. West & Co., Inc. (GA West), pursuant to Title VII. Harvison maintains that she was subjected to quid pro quo sexual harassment in violation of Title VII.
Harvison claims that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor in the form of text messages which proposed raises and promotions in exchange for sexual favors. In one text message, according to Harvison, the supervisor stated that a better position on the job “comes with a price” and indicated that with a change in her role on the job, Harvison was expected to perform sex acts. Harvison further claims that after she refused the supervisor’s sexual advances, she did not receive a promotion or raise, and instead lost hours and benefits. Harvison also contends that after she rejected the supervisor’s sexual advances, GA West hired a new female employee who began having sexual relations with the supervisor. Harvison alleges that this new female employee obtained preferential treatment from the supervisor, such as benefits and extra hours, in exchange for sexual favors.
Punished For Rejecting Sexual Advances
GA West sought dismissal of Harvison’s quid pro quo sexual harassment claim, arguing that Harvison was essentially claiming that she was harmed because “her supervisor’s sexual partner received benefits due to that relationship.” This type of discrimination, GW West, “is not prohibited by Title VII as it constituted only paramour favoritism as to her.” The trial court rejected GA West’s interpretation of Harvison’s allegations and ruled that Harvison has stated a plausible claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment.
The trial court explained that Harvison alleges that her supervisor offered her a raise and promotion in exchange for sexual favors, and that she did not receive these benefits and lost hours after she rejected his sexual advances. The trial court also pointed out that “if benefits offered to Harvison in exchange for sexual favors were instead giving to her supervisor’s sexual partner, this arguably lends support to her position that she would have received tangible employment benefits had she submitted to his requests.”
Free Consultation For Harassment Victims
After experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, one of the most significant decisions sexual harassment victims must make is which sexual harassment attorneys to consult with regarding their rights and remedies under federal employment discrimination law. As part of our commitment to fighting for the rights of sexual harassment victims, an experienced sexual harassment lawyer will speak with you personally and you will receive the individualized attention your case deserves. We offer free confidential case evaluations for sexual harassment victims, and you will not have to pay to speak with our sexual harassment attorneys regarding your rights. We are available for consultation at your convenience, including scheduling telephone consultations for evenings and weekends.
Marion County Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our sexual harassment attorneys in Marion County, Florida have litigated sexual harassment cases for more than twenty years. If you have been sexually harassed at work or have questions about your rights as a sexual harassment victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our sexual harassment lawyers in Marion County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes sexual harassment cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.