How quid pro quo sexual harassment can hurt your career

Sexual harassment is a problem for numerous reasons. It limits the access of certain individuals to high-paid and competitive professions. It also affects that individual’s career development and trajectory.

Someone experiencing a hostile work environment might have a difficult time progressing to the next stage in their career or even just keeping a job because of the way their co-workers treat them. Those enduring quid pro quo sexual harassment may have other career consequences.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves someone in a position of authority, like a manager or business owner, offering career opportunities in return for sexual or romantic favors. It could also involve them threatening punitive actions if they don’t get their way rather than offering a reward. How does this form of harassment affect someone’s career?

Someone facing harassment may have unfair work records

The very nature of quid pro quo sexual harassment involves leveraging someone’s need for a career against their personal ethics. Inappropriate sexual requests by established professionals have long made certain careers less accessible to certain professionals. Someone worried about losing their job or their place in an industry may tolerate or ignore conduct they would otherwise never allow.

When a business owner, manager or supervisor tries to use their position for personal gain, they may manipulate business records to optimize what benefits they receive. A worker facing quid pro quo harassment, for example, might get written up for tiny infractions by a boss who has not received what they wanted. They might also have a history of poor performance reviews because they have chosen not to acquiesce to their employer’s advances.

Quid pro quo harassment often affects how other employees act

A manager or supervisor willing to abuse their position of authority for sexual favors often doesn’t care if their actions aren’t very subtle. Other co-workers might easily pick up on the unrequited attraction between the manager and one of their employees.

People may begin to spread gossip or to socially isolate the worker already facing harassment by a manager pressuring them with unwanted advances. They may assume that the worker has used the situation for personal gain.

Someone dealing with harassment may also experience depression and worsening job performance. Fighting back against sexual harassment may be the only way to stop it from having a negative, long-term impact on your career.

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