HR Stories Podcast - where the Lesson is in the Story

"I want to go to bed with you", said her boss. - Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson...the original Sexual Harassment Supreme Court case

May 27, 2021 John Thalheimer and Chuck Simikian, SHRM-SCP Episode 11
HR Stories Podcast - where the Lesson is in the Story
"I want to go to bed with you", said her boss. - Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson...the original Sexual Harassment Supreme Court case
Show Notes

In this episode, our hosts John and Chuck tell the behind the scenes story of Mechelle Vinson....a 19 year old Bank Teller and how she was coerced into having a sexual relationship with her boss in order to save her job.

In May of 1975, Mr. Sidney Taylor, Branch Manager at a local bank takes his employee, Bank Teller Mechelle Vinson, out to dinner at a Chinese Restaurant after work. Years later, Michelle  recollected the story of the Chinese restaurant dinner with the Washington Post…in her own words…she said… ‘I don’t want to go to bed with you,’ And he says, ‘Just like I hired you, I’ll fire you. Just like I made you, I’ll break you, and if you don’t do what I say then I’ll have you killed.’ … And that’s how it started.”

As we continue our HR Stories of Court Cases and Laws that made HR today we look at the very first case that eventually reaching the U.S. Supreme Court on June 19, 1986, Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson. It was the first of its kind to redefine sexual harassment in the workplace. It established the standards for analyzing whether conduct was unlawful and when an employer would be liable.

The court, ruled unanimously (9–0) that sexual harassment that results in a hostile work environment is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans sex discrimination by employers. The Court also established criteria for judging such claims.

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All views expressed in the presented Stories are not necessarily that of Chuck and John. The stories are shared to present various, real-world scenarios and share how they were handled by policy and, at times, law. Chuck and John are not lawyers and always recommend working with an employment lawyer to address concerns.