male coworker putting his hand over a female coworkers shoulder from the back.

All employees in Illinois have a right to a workplace free from sexual harassment; however, quid pro quo harassment is a persistent problem. If you have been subjected to harassment on the job, turn to Vaziri Law LLC. We are dedicated to helping victims of sexual harassment fight back.

We have a comprehensive knowledge of the applicable anti-harassment laws and an impressive track record of success in negotiating and litigating quid pro quo harassment claims. Contact our Chicago office today to speak with our experienced sexual harassment lawyer.  

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is considered an unlawful form of sex-based discrimination under federal and state law, including Title VII of the Civil  Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Human Right Act (IHRA). In addition, the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance and the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation in those jurisdictions. 

In short, sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual advances, offensive conduct, or comments of a sexual nature that unreasonably interfere with an employee’s ability to perform their job or create an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment. While women are more frequently targeted, anyone can be victimized by workplace harassment, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 

Despite laws designed to protect workers from sexual harassment, it often goes unreported; victims are often reluctant to come forward out of fear of retaliation. The best way to protect your rights is to consult an experienced employment law attorney at Vaziri Law LLC. 

Identifying Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo harassment in an employment setting occurs when a person in a position of authority makes sexual demands in exchange for a job offer, raise, bonus, or promotion. This type of harassment typically involves a business owner, executive, or supervisor making unwanted sexual advances. However, it may also involve a third party, such as a client, making sexual demands in exchange for business.  

Finally, an employer who takes an adverse employment action against an employee (e.g. firing, demoting, disciplining) who refuses a sexual advance or complains about sexual harassment in the workplace may also be held responsible for quid pro quo harassment. Regardless of the circumstances, our skilled sexual harassment lawyer is here to protect your rights.  

Examples of Quid Pro Quo Workplace Sexual Harassment 

Quid pro quo harassment is overt and may involve:

  • A hiring manager offering a job applicant a position in exchange for sexual favors or a date
  • A supervisor making unwanted sexual advances at a holiday party  
  • An employee receiving a negative performance review after refusing a sexual advance 
  • An employer terminating an employee who refuses sexual demands or files a sexual harassment complaint

When a person in a position of authority makes sexual demands of a subordinate or candidate, there may be a legal basis for a sexual harassment claim, even if there is only one instance of harassment.

How do I file a sexual harassment claim?

Victims of quid pro quo harassment have legal recourse under Title VII and the IHRA. Notably, Title VII only covers employers with 15 or more employees.  Also, you must file a charge of sexual harassment (a complaint) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit. If the agency cannot resolve the claim through its conciliation process, it may issue a right to sue letter.

The IHRA provides victims of workplace harassment with stronger legal protections than federal law. This law applies to employers with 1 or more employees, which means most employers are covered. To pursue a sexual harassment lawsuit under state law, you must file a charge of harassment with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). 

There are steps you should take to support your claim, including:

  • Documenting instances of sexual advances or demands
  • Notifying the harasser, preferably in writing (e.g. email), their conduct is offensive, unwanted, and must stop
  • Reporting the harassment to another supervisor or human resources personnel

Once you submit your claim, the agency will conduct an investigation and provide both parties an opportunity to participate in mediation. If mediation is not successful, you have a right to initiate a civil lawsuit. Trust Vaziri Law LLC to guide you through every step of the process.

Recoverable Damages in a Sexual Harassment Claim

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover damages such as:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Lost bonuses 
  • The monetary value of employment benefits (e.g. health, retirement benefits)
  • Emotional distress
  • Attorneys’ fees and court costs 

Back pay and front pay may be awarded if you have been terminated for refusing a sexual advance or complaining about sexual harassment. Finally, you may also receive punitive damages if your employer failed to stop the harassment.

Contact Our Experienced Chicago Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Attorneys

At Vaziri Law LLC, we are committed to helping victims of sexual harassment. If you have been subjected to quid pro quo harassment or a hostile work environment, we will provide you with powerful representation and dependable service. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.