Quid Pro Quo – Key Words & Phrases

Key Words

What is the meaning of:

quid pro quo?

“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that translates to “This For That.”
In common usage, “quid pro quo” refers to giving one valuable thing in exchange for another valuable thing. In most of business, it is of the essence: “I give you and you pay me.” “Quid Pro Quo.”

In the workplace, “quid pro quo” is problematic in two contexts: sexual harassment and bribery. In both contexts it constitutes a serious violation of law.

In terms of sexual harassment, “quid pro quo” refers to a kind of sexual blackmail. If a manager says to an employee words to the effect, “If you have sex with me, then I will give you a promotion or raise,” or “Unless you have sex with me, I won’t give you a promotion or raise,” that is a very serious type of sexual harassment. It is a serious violation of law because it uses the manager’s inherent power over the employee for an evil purpose.

In terms of bribery, “quid pro quo” refers to attempts by companies to get favored treatment from public officials. Inside the U.S., the Hobbs Act of 1994 makes it a felony for a public official to ask for anything of value in return for official favors. Outside the U.S., the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 makes it a serious federal crime to offer a bribe to officials of other countries.

Just recently, J.P. MorganChase was charged with violated that law by offering high-paying jobs to children of high Chinese officials, presumably in exchange for favored regulatory treatment.

“Quid Pro Quo.” The essence of business. But in certain business contexts, it is the essence of illegality. Now you know the difference.

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