The majority of workplaces have some sort of hierarchy. Companies tend to run more smoothly when someone is in charge and tasks are delegated appropriately.
Unfortunately, being in a position of power can go to a person’s head and they can act out toward their colleagues. Sexual harassment commonly revolves around power, and a minority of supervisors may try to use theirs inappropriately.
Unwanted sexual advances that come from a superior trying to assert their influence are typically referred to as quid pro quo harassment. Outlined below are a few examples.
Offering new opportunities
Promotions should be based on performance and the best person fit for the job should get the position. Supervisors have a lot of say in the career advancement of employees, and sometimes, they use this as a way to manipulate colleagues. If you’re offered a promotion based on the condition that you must carry out sexual favors, this is sexual harassment.
Importantly, it doesn’t have to be a promotion at stake. If you are offered any form of benefit in return for sexual favors, then this could be classified as quid pro quo harassment.
Unwarranted disciplinary measures
You are well within your right to refuse to put up with inappropriate conduct from co-workers or superiors, and this is what you have done. Unfortunately, the manager has decided to discipline you on this basis, even threatening to fire you because you have rejected their advances. This is another form of quid pro quo harassment and it is completely unlawful.
As an employee, you have a right to work in an environment where you feel safe. If you have been sexually harassed at work, make sure you explore the different legal options at your disposal.