Sexual harassment lawsuit filed in ’78; woman wins case in US

Its being termed a historic lawsuit in United States of America. The victim filed her lawsuit back in year 1978 and she had to go all the way to the US Supreme Court but she prevailed at last. It so happened that one Mechelle Vinson had been fired from her job at Capital City Federal Savings Bank in Northeast Washington. But in her lawsuit filed, she claimed that during the four years she worked at the bank, the branch manager by the name of Sidney L. Taylor repeatedly sexually assaulted her. She was once even forced on the floor of the bank vault. The case, Meritor Savings Bank vs. Vinson, was the first of its kind to reach the Supreme Court.

The victim claimed that the harassment began in 1974, only a few months into her job. It was then that the manager asked her out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was connected to a motel, and after dinner the manager demanded she have sex in exchange for keeping her job. She told him she appreciated his help in hiring her for the job, according to court records. “I don’t want appreciation,” Vinson recalled Taylor telling her. “I want to go to bed with you.” When she refused, he threatened her. “I said, ‘I don’t want to go to bed with you,’ ” Vinson told The Washington Post in a 1986 interview. “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.”

Taylor, a married man with seven children and a deacon in his church, denied the allegations and maintained the sex was consensual. But Vinson, who still lives in the Washington area but couldn’t be reached for an interview, estimated that she “had intercourse with him some 40 or 50 times,” according to court documents. “Taylor fondled her in front of other employees, followed her into the women’s restroom when she went there alone, exposed himself to her, and even forcibly raped her on several occasions.”

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