Meritor Savings Bank vs. Vinson

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Meritor Savings Bank vs. Vinson
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Case Brief
Indent new paragraph 5 spacesAfter being dismissed from her job at a Meritor Savings Bank, Mechelle Vinson sued Sidney Taylor, a Vice President and branch manager of the bank and Meritor Savings Bank. Vinson charged that she had constantly been subjected to sexual harassment by Taylor over her four years at the bank. She argued such harassment created a "hostile working environment" and was covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vinson sought injunctive relief along with compensatory and punitive damages against Taylor and the bank. Taylor denied allegations of sexual activity and said the accusation were made over a business-related dispute. At the trial, the parties presented conflicting testimony about the existence of a sexual relationship between them. The District Court denied relief without resolving the conflicting testimony, holding that if Mechelle and her supervisor, Taylor, did have a sexual relationship, it was voluntary and had nothing to do with her continued employment at the bank, and that therefore she was not the victim of sexual harassment. The court then went on to hold that since the bank was without notice, it could not be held liable for the supervisor's alleged sexual harassment. Vinson appealed. The Court of Appeals took the opposite view, noting that a violation of Title VII may be predicated on either of two types of sexual harassment (1) harassment that involves the conditioning of employment benefits on sexual favors, and (2) harassment that, while not affecting economic benefits, creates a hostile or offensive working environment. They determined this was the second type of harassment and reversed and remanded plus held that an employer, Meritor Savings Bank, is absolutely liable for sexual harassment by supervisory personnel, whether or not the employer knew or should have known about it. The case was appealed to the...
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