Arbitrating Sex Discrimination Grievances

By Vern E. Hauck | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Sexual Harassment

The U.S. Supreme Court's determination of sexual harassment in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson2 was issued on June 19, 1986. The Supreme Court ruled on four aspects of sexual harassment in Vinson. First, Vinson confirmed the existence of a cause of action under Title VII for sexual harassment. Second, a victim advancing a sexual harassment claim need not have suffered tangible economic loss as a result of the employer's actions. The existence of an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment sufficiently verifies sexual harassment. Third, it is the question of welcome or unwelcome sexual advances on which an application of Title VII hinges, not whether sexual advances were voluntarily tolerated by the victim. Finally, vicarious employer liability under common-law agency principles for the misconduct of supervisors is not governed by any per se rule. The first three rulings of the High Court appear to be solid legal foundations. The Court registered a five to three to one split on the fourth point, however, making it the most confusing and legally suspect.

The Supreme Court's view of just what constitutes a hostile working environment, first enunciated in 1986 Vinson was reaffirmed in 1993 by Harris v. Forklift Systems.3 The Supreme Court listed several relevant factors to be considered in determining the existence of a hostile working environment in Harris, indi-

____________________
1
Portions of this chapter can be found in Vern E. Hauck and Thomas G. Pearce, "Sexual Harassment and Employer Response," Labor Law Journal, Vol. 38, No. 12, December 1987; Vern E. Hauck and Thomas G. Pearce, "Sexual Harassment and Arbitration," Labor Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 1, January 1992, 31-39; and Vern E. Hauck (ed.), Sex Harassment Handbook. Washington, D.C.: BNA Books, 1994.
2
Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 40 FEP 1822, 477 U.S. 57 ( 1986). See also HuRkanen v. Operating Engineers, 62 FEP 1125 ( 1993), and Burns v. McGregor Electronics Industries, Inc, 61 FEP 592 ( 1993).
3
Harris v. Forklift Systems, 63 FEP 225, 114 S.Ct. 367 ( 1993).

-147-

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Arbitrating Sex Discrimination Grievances
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • PART I - FOUNDATION AND FUNDAMENTALS 1
  • Chapter 1 - Legal and Arbitral Foundations 18
  • Chapter 2 - Blending Law and Arbitral Practice 32
  • Chapter 3 - Procedure, Evidence, and Proof 49
  • PART II - TOPICAL ISSUES 51
  • Chapter 4 - Employment Status 53
  • Chapter 5 - Employment Conditions 91
  • Chapter 6 - Sexual Harassment 147
  • Chapter 7 - Pregnancy and Childbearing 165
  • Bibliography 179
  • Index 183
  • About the Author 193
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