Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Case Study

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1. Based on the scenario, does the employee have a legally viable claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment and/or hostile environment sexual harassment? What is the likely outcome?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee is required to engage in sexual activity in exchange for workplace entitlements or benefits. These benefits can be in the form of promotions, raises or continued employment. It is rather obvious and is not generally difficult to recognize when this type of harassment occurs. (Bennett-Alexander, D. (0040). Employment Law for Business (7th ed). McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions. Retrieved from http://devry.vitalsource.com/books/0077765451/id/P9-141)

In this case, Brittany Murphy does have a legally viable claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment. Dwayne, her boss, advised her that she was going to be required to go on a trip with him and share a room. Dwayne let her know that he could transfer her to another department, which would be a promotion for her if she would show him her breasts on the trip. Since Brittany refused to go because she felt uncomfortable, she was not only demoted to the mail room, she also had a decrease in her pay. Dwayne request was obviously quid pro quo sexual harassment, he requested a “sexual activity” in exchange for a benefit, aka promotion. It was blatant that Brittany was not only being required to engage in sexual behavior in order to be promoted but to keep the job she had as an executive secretary as well.

Where Quid pro quo is normally very easy to recognize, Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment is more difficult to pinpoint. It is harder to prove a Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment because there are often unclear parameters and requirements and the lines...

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...uch for the offender as it would be for the victim.

E. Create a workplace guide with stricter guidelines as to what is acceptable to display in your work station or area – Again, this is not to punish the victim, but to give everyone guidelines as to maintaining a professional work environment and behaviors as well. Some people are immature and cannot handle looking at a picture of a girl in a bikini without gawking or making inappropriate comments. At the same time, it’s best to leave vacation pictures at home. Some workplaces prohibit most personal items from being displayed in the workplace such as pictures of children, spouses etc. Depending on the nature of the work, this policy can be more or less stringent. A positive suggestion would be to not have picture of yourself on your desk or in your work space wearing something that you would not wear to work.

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