Does quid pro quo sexual harassment apply to employee-employee conduct?

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Jul 16, 2021Fact Checked

Generally, only employees with the authority to impact a tangible employment benefit, such as hiring, firing, promoting, reassigning to another position with different responsibilities, or monetary benefits, can be held liable for engaging in quid pro quo sexual harassment. 

In the ordinary case, this is limited to supervisors and managers. However, if an employee has de facto authority of this type, the employer can still be held liable. For example, if the owner’s son is merely a co-worker of an employee he is sexually harassing, he would likely still be considered to have authority sufficient enough to hold him liable for quid pro quo harassment. However, if the employer knows that a co-worker is demanding sexual favors from another worker and does nothing about it, the employer would probably be liable for sexual harassment due to the hostile environment.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

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