The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex. Courts have long held that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Thus, employers who engage in sexual harassment or allow their employees to engage in such behavior without intervening violate Texas and federal anti-discrimination laws.
There are several types of sexual harassment. One of the most commonly seen type of sexual harassment is called “quid pro quo” harassment. Quid pro quo is a Latin term meaning to get something for giving something. In the context of a sex discrimination lawsuit, quid pro quo harassment occurs when a supervisor propositions an employee, typically for sexual favors, in exchange for some employment benefit. For example, a manager who makes an employee’s raise contingent upon the employee going on a date with the manager has engaged in quid pro quo harassment.
Quid pro quo harassment also occurs when an employee suffers some kind of adverse employment outcome for refusing an employer’s sexual advances.
Proving a Claim of Quid Pro Quo Harassment in Texas
In Texas, a quid pro quo claim requires the employee to show the following:
- that they were an employee;
- that the harasser was a supervisor;
- that the harasser made unwanted sexual advances or engaged in other verbal or physical conduct that was sexual in nature and unwelcome;
- that the employee’s job benefits or a hiring decision was contingent on the employee accepting the harasser’s advances; and
- that the employee suffered some kind of harm as a result of the harasser’s conduct.
Notably, an employee who acquiesces to a supervisor’s harassment and engages in the requested acts is not prevented from pursuing a sexual harassment claim against an employer.
If an employee is successful in showing that their employer engaged in quid pro quo harassment, the employee may be able to recover damages to compensate them for their lost wages, benefits, and forgone employment opportunities. In addition, the employee may be able to obtain financial compensation for any emotional distress they suffered as a result of the harassment. It is also possible for employees to be reinstated to their position if the employee wishes.
Have You Been the Victim of Workplace Harassment?
If you have recently been the victim of sexual harassment in a Texas workplace, contact the law firm of Rob Wiley, P.C., where we represent Texas employees in all types of employment-related matters. At Rob Wiley, P.C., we are passionate about enforcing the rights of employees, and it comes across in the results we obtain for our clients. To learn more about how we can help you with your situation, please call 214-528-6500 or contact us via our website to schedule a consultation.
More Blog Posts:
What Is First Amendment Retaliation and How Can an Employee Bring a Claim of Retaliation?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, January 10, 2019.
Are All Texas Employment Contracts Enforceable?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, January 17, 2019.