Sexual Bribery is a form of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment, which by definition is any unwelcomed sexual advance, takes on many different forms.  The two main categories of sexual harassment are those stemming form a Hostile Work Environment (sexual touching, sexual threats, sexual comments and outright sexual hostilities) and those that are classified as Quid Pro Quo (which is a Latin phrase meaning “you do something for me and I do something for you”).

Can bribery be classified as sexual harassment?

Bribery is illegal in any form. But when it comes in relation to a sexual overtone, it becomes sexual harassment.  Bribery is often relayed from a person with seniority in the company (like a manager or supervisor) and is offered to a subordinate in return (in exchange) for the subordinate employee performing an act of a sexual nature. Sexual Bribery in all of its ugliness is really a person of authority forcing a subordinate employee to do something he/she would ordinarily not do, but for the demand.

Sexual Bribery can take two forms. One form is to reward the employee if he/she does a sexual act as demanded by her supervisor/boss and the other is the effect that Sexual Bribery has on other employees.

Sexual Bribery used to “reward” an employee is illegal.

We often see this type of sexual harassment being imposed on a subordinate employee by his/her manager or supervisor where the employee is told that they will only be given a “reword” if they agree to engage in a sexual act.  The threat, no matter how implicit, is that the employee will not be rewarded with a promotion, a raise etc., even if they earned it, without engaging in the sexual act demanded. Hence, what often looks like a sexual bribe can also be classified as sexual coercion.  An example would be the supervisor giving an employee overtime work if she wears a short skirt or telling an employee she will get a larger bonus if she agrees to engage in sexual intercourse.  Even if the employee has agreed to do the act or has in fact performed as told, she would still have a cause of action against the supervisor and the company. The fact that the employee was coerced into doing the sexual act that she normally would not do, does not protect the employer / supervisor who committed the illegal act by offering the bribe.

Sexual Bribery is not only harmful for the employee that is offered the bribe; it can also have consequences for other employees even when they are not directly targeted.  An example would be an employee who is with the company for 3 years and the next online for a promotion, meanwhile, the boss offers a new hired young woman the promotion if she has sex with him. In this case, the employee with seniority was never offered a sexual bribe, yet this employee has also been victimized. In this scenario, not only would the new hired employee that was forced to engage in a sexual act able to pursue a case against the company, so would the employee that was wrongfully denied the promotion. Sexual Bribery has many victims, not just the person that is forced by way of a bribe to engage in a depraved act.

Is Sexual Bribery illegal in the workplace?

In New York City, New York State, and in New Jersey both local and federal laws protect victims of sexual harassment through Sexual Bribery.  In New York City the Administrative Code of the City of New York § 8-101, in New York State the Human Rights Law, Executive Law § 296, in New Jersey the Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-12) and on a Federal Level Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000 e) protects employees against Sexual Bribery in the workplace including victims of Sexual Bribery that were passed on for a raise or promotion because of some other employee accepting the sexual bribe.

Sexual harassment claims are very complex and require attorneys with knowledge and experience in this area of the law. In choosing a sexual harassment attorney, you should take into account his or her knowledge of federal, state, and city laws. The lawyers at Akin Law Group have extensive experience with New York and New Jersey sexual harassment laws, and will vigorously fight to help you obtain the maximum recovery to which you are entitled.

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly for refusing to engage in sexual acts (regardless of whether the request is explicit or implicit) or, even if you did engage in the sexual act (you are not the person that did anything wrong, it is the person that offered you the bribe) you may have a cause of action.  

The Akin Law Group: Attorneys serving victims of Sexual Harassment in NY and NJ for over 23 years.

Call and speak privately and directly with one of our attorneys at (212) 825-1400. 

Our attorneys are passionate about protecting employees’ rights and are here to help you recover for the loss that you have sustained. Conveniently located on Broadway, in the financial district (NYC / Manhattan).