Quid Pro Quo vs Hostile Environment | Types of Sexual Harassment

We all like to think that in this day and age the last thing you would have to worry about is sexual harassment at work. But, it still happens. So, how do you know if your coworker is just unintentionally creepy, or if you have cause for legal action? There are two types of sexual harassment in the workplace: Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment and Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment, and here is what you need to know about each:

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment basically translates to, “If you do this for me, I will do this for you.”. For example, your employer could ask you to go to dinner with them and in exchange, they will do something to help advance your career. That example is putting it mildly as Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment can cause emotional distress; the employee could be passed over for a promotion, a raise or potentially lose their job if they do not comply with their employers advances.

What Steps You Can Take:

If you suspect you are a victim of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment, you can to take these steps to document the harassment before you contact an employment lawyer:

  1. Document each instance of your employer requesting sexual favors, making inappropriate comments, or unwanted sexual contact
  2. Document each instance of a tangible employment action effected by your reaction to the unwanted advances
  3. Privately gather documentation provided by your employer regarding their policies on sexual harassment

Hostile Environment Harassment

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment is when the workplace is so full of discriminatory actions that it creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile work environment that interferes with the employee’s work performance. So, if your manager touches your back every time he walks by you, or your coworker makes inappropriate comments to you every time you talk to them and it interferes with your work performance and even attendance, you could be experiencing Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

What Steps You Can Take:

If you suspect you are a victim of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment, you can to take these steps to document the harassment before you contact an employment lawyer:

  1. Document each instance of your employer or co-worker requesting sexual favors, making inappropriate comments, or unwanted sexual contact
  2. Document each instance of how the unwanted advances impacted your work performance and caused serious emotional distress
  3. Privately gather documentation provided by your employer regarding their policies on sexual harassment

Contacting an Employment Lawyer

Mark P. Carey P.C. understands that sexual harassment in the workplace is an emotionally draining and terrifying thing to experience. Know that you have resources and professionals to help you. Contact Mark P. Carey P.C. today to discuss your experiences with one of our employment lawyers at and begin planning your legal action.