Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment in New York at Columbia University
Author: Discrimination lawyer Alena Shautsova
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains that quid pro quo sexual harassment involves a superior and subordinate where the superior demands sexual favors and the subordinate’s submission or rejection subsequently affects work decisions.
Recently, the New York Daily News reported that two former students alleged they were victims of sexual harassment and sued Columbia University. In both cases the workers were subjected to touching and propositioning by two professors. When they refused to go along with the advances, the professors’ actions negatively affected their employment opportunities.
Student Susan Farley complained that both professors hit on her. She rejected them and afterward when she asked for employment references, they would not give her a reference. The other student Laura Williams said the professor repeatedly questioned her about her love life and intimated she would not get a good grade if she did not sleep with him. When she refused to go to bed with him, he retaliated by accusing her of cheating. Columbia University reported her to a clearinghouse as a dropout, despite the fact she received her degree a year late.
For conduct to be sexual harassment, the sexual advances must be unwelcome as they were in these two instances. In both cases, the sexual harassment also inhibited the women’s ability to obtain employment.
If you are subject to sexual harassment, you have the right to take legal action and should discuss your situation with a discrimination attorney.