Quid pro quo is Latin for “in exchange for” or “this for that.”
For sex discrimination purposes, quid pro quo is a type of sexual harassment under Title IX. Quid pro quo sexual harassment arises when a subordinate suffers a tangible adverse action as a result of the subordinate’s refusal to submit to a higher-up’s sexual demands. A tangible adverse action is one that constitutes a significant change in employment status (such as hiring, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or firing) that, generally, only a person acting with the authority of the company can cause. Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 703(a)(1), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).
For bribery purposes, a quid pro quo is the specific intent to give or receive a “thing of value” in exchange for some future action that the public official will take (and may already have determined to take), or for a past act that he has already taken. 18 U.S.C. § 201. The “thing of value” can include a campaign contribution, so long as that was received in exchange for official acts. The official’s intent to exchange official acts for contributions may be based on the official’s words, conducts, acts, and all other surrounding circumstances disclosed by the evidence and the rational or logical inferences that may be drawn from them.
[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]