Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Claim Fails Where Too Much Time Passes Between the “Quid” and the “Quo”

In Figueroa v. Johnson, 109 F. Supp. 3d 532 (EDNY 2015), the Eastern District of New York dismissed plaintiff’s “quid pro quo” sexual harassment claim due to lack of temporal proximity.

The court explained:

Under Title VII, a plaintiff may seek relief for sex discrimination under two theories: (1) quid pro quo or (2) hostile work environment. … To establish a prima facie case of quid pro quo harassment, a plaintiff must present evidence that he was subject to unwelcome sexual conduct, and that his reaction to that conduct was then used as a basis for decisions affecting the compensation, terms, conditions[,] or privileges of his employment. As in the retaliation context, temporal proximity between the rejection of the sexual advance and the adverse employment action can lead to or combat an inference that the plaintiff was subject to quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Judge Kuntz dismissed plaintiff’s claim because “[t]here is no disputed issue of material fact that [the alleged harasser]’s decision to assign Plaintiff to work Thanksgiving 2007 took place one year after the alleged incidents of sexual harassment, which is not enough to show temporal proximity or an inference of causation.”

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