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Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment:
Burlington Industries v. Ellerth

Appealed From: U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
Subjects: Sexual Harassment; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Argued: April 22, 1998

Decided: June 26, 1998
Vote: 7-2

At Issue: Whether an employee may claim quid pro quo sexual harassment under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if that employee has refused the advances of an alleged harasser and has not suffered any tangible effects on compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment as a result.

Decision: By a 7-2 vote, the court ruled that employers are liable for the unwelcome and threatening sexual advances of a supervisor, even if the threats are not carried out and the harassed employee suffers no adverse, tangible effects.

Read the full text of the Burlington Industries v. Ellerth decision at the Findlaw Internet Legal Resources Web site.

Listen to the Burlington Industries v. Ellerth oral argument in RealAudio at the Oyez Oyez Oyez Web site.

The full text of the 1997 en banc decision in the lower court case, Ellerth v. Burlington Industries Inc., is also available at the FindLaw site. That opinion supercedes the original 1996 lower court case.

See the specifics of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Web site.

The pertinent civil rights provision in the U.S. Code (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) is available at the U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library Web site.

Background from The Post
Court Draws Line on Harassment (June 27, 1998)
Liability, Not Labels (June 27, 1998)
For Employers, a Blunt Warning (June 27, 1998)
A Flicker of Hope for Paula Jones (June 27, 1998)
Supreme Court Gets Basic With Harassment Law (April 23, 1998)
Defining the Terms of Harassment (April 20, 1998)
Four Cases Address Parameters of Sexual Harassment (Feb. 8, 1998)
Court May Clarify Grounds for Sexual Harassment Suits (Jan. 24, 1998)

Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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