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Landmark Cases

Case Name: MERITOR Savings Bank v. VINSON

Date, Location, Cite: 1986
477 U.S. 57, 106 S. Ct. 2399

Vinson worked for Meritor Bank, under Taylor, for 4 yrs, then quit, sued, said Taylor had harassed her all 4 yrs. She had 'voluntarily" had sex with him 40-50 times, and had been raped as well, by her report. He denied all. District Court said voluntary sex voided harrasment claim, and employer never knew about it, wasn't liable.
Ct. of Appeals said workplace could be hostile even if she 'voluntarily' had sex, if she was afraid she would lose her job, didn't want the advances, etc., and employer was always liable.
US Supreme Ct. said yes & no. Hostile workplace per EEOC guidlines could exist even if she voluntaily slept with him, employer might or might not be liable, needed to be decided case by case.
An early decision, referenced by many later sexual discrimination suits. Fairly straight-forward logic.