The Case Involved Mechelle Vinson

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I. Summary of the Case
The case involved Mechelle Vinson, respondent, who brought an action against Sidney Taylor, a vice president and branch manager of Meritor Savings Bank, and the bank. She claimed that during her four years at the bank, she had been constantly subjected to sexual harassment by Taylor in violation of Title VII. She testified to over 40 instances of sexual favors successfully sought by Taylor from 1974 to 1977. Yet, these activities ceased after she started going with a steady boyfriend. However, Taylor denied the allegations of sexual activity. He contended instead that respondent made her accusations in response to a business related dispute. Additionally, the bank also denied the respondent’s allegations and asserted that any sexual harassment by Taylor was unknown to the bank and engaged in without its consent or approval. Although, the district court denied relief, finding in part: If Ms. Vinson and Taylor did engage in an intimate or sexual relationship during the time of her employment with the bank, that relationship was a voluntary one having nothing to do with her continued employment and her advancement or promotions at that institution. But the court of appeals reversed the district court. The Supreme Court granted certiorari (Twomey, p428). Certiorari is an appellate proceeding for reexamination of an action or judgment of a lower court. It usually requires the lower court to certify and return its records to the reviewing court (Twomey; p 770).

II. Case Question 1
Is the fact that the sex-related conduct by an employee and her supervisor was “voluntary” a defense to a sexual harassment charge?

According to the article, while “voluntaries” in the sense of consent is not a defense to such a claim, it does not follow that a complainant’s sexually provocative speech or dress is irrelevant as a matter of law in determining whether he or she found particular sexual advances unwelcome. The correct inquiry is whether...
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