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How Does Quid Pro Quo Apply to Harassment?

Emily Hartman /

Once a month, our HR experts answer a commonly asked question. This month we’re answering harassment-related questions.

Q: What does quid pro quo mean?

A: Maybe you’ve heard it said on the news or maybe it just seems like Latin (which it is).

In the context of HR and sexual harassment in the workplace, the phrase specifically refers to a situation in which a person of authority or influence (i.e., an executive, a supervisor, a manager, an employee of higher rank or seniority) expects a subordinate or lower-level employee to participate in or comply with inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature under the threat of harming their status as an employee if they refuse.

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