MERITOR SAVINGS BANK v. VINSON

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
84-1979
Petitioner 
Meritor Savings Bank
Respondent 
Vinson
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

After being dismissed from her job at a Meritor Savings Bank, Mechelle Vinson sued Sidney Taylor, the Vice President of the 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.

Question 

Did the Civil Rights Act prohibit the creation of a "hostile environment" or was it limited to tangible economic discrimination in the workplace?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Vinson, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII

The Court held that the language of Title VII was "not limited to 'economic' or 'tangible' discrimination," finding that Congress intended "'to strike at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women' in employment. . ." The Court noted that guidelines issued by the EEOC specified that sexual harassment leading to noneconomic injury was a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. The Court recognized that plaintiffs could establish violations of the Act "by proving that discrimination based on sex has created a hostile or abusive work environment." The Court declined to rule on the degree to which businesses could be liable for the conduct of specific employees.

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MERITOR SAVINGS BANK v. VINSON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 18 December 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1985/1985_84_1979>.
MERITOR SAVINGS BANK v. VINSON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1985/1985_84_1979 (last visited December 18, 2014).
"MERITOR SAVINGS BANK v. VINSON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed December 18, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1985/1985_84_1979.