What Are The Two Types of Harassment Claims?

By Corey Hanrahan

What are the two types of harassment claims?  Under California law, sexual harassment can fall under two different categories: (1) quid pro quo, and (2) hostile environment. 

“…Unlike “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, a hostile environment harassment claim does not require proof of a loss of tangible job benefits or actual injury

“Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs where an employee’s subjection or acquiescence to sexual conduct is linked to the grant or denial of job benefits (e.g., hiring, firing, promotion, favorable review, etc.). In other words, with “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, a job benefit is conditioned upon sexual favors. The essence of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment is that the supervisor abuses his or her authority to extort sexual favors from employees. Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that translates to an exchange of goods or services.

Hostile environment harassment involves various forms of verbal, physical, or visual conduct, of a sexual or nonsexual nature, that has the purpose of creating a hostile or offensive work environment. Unlike “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, a hostile environment harassment claim does not require proof of a loss of tangible job benefits or actual injury. 

Both “quid pro quo” and hostile environment harassment are illegal under California and federal law. Sexual harassment cases can sometimes be difficult to prove. Depending on the type of sexual harassment, you may need to prove that the harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive, which requires the analysis of the conduct’s severity, or whether the conduct forms a pattern. This is why it is important to have a knowledgeable, experienced harassment attorney in San Diego analyze your claims. 

If you have been subjected to any form of harassment at work, including sexual harassment, contact The Hanrahan Firm for a free consultation.