Today, on the last day of April’s Black Women’s History Month, we honor the bravery, tenacity, and spirit of the Black women who have stepped forward throughout American history to advance women’s rights. Over the past fifty years we have been honored to support numerous cases brought by Black women to expand legal rights for women in the workplace, education, and the nation as a whole.
Mechelle Vinson is one of these trailblazing women. In 1978,Vinson sued her former employer, a bank, for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Utilizing a novel legal theory, she asserted that the bank’s permitting her supervisor to subject her to three years of unrelenting sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape created a “hostile work environment” that undermined her ability to function effectively in the workplace.
Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986) that sexual harassment creates an intolerable work environment, with or without tangible economic loss, and therefore violates Title VII. Meritor is one of the most consequential decisions in Title VII history, and Legal Momentum is proud to have joined an important amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief with eighteen other women’s and civil rights organizations on Vinson‘s behalf. Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986) has become one of the most influential Supreme Court cases in bolstering the power and enforcement of Title VII.
Black women have led many of the prominent sexual harassment challenges throughout American legal history, and we have been honored to support these efforts since our founding as the nation’s first legal defense and education fund for women.
Today, our legal team continues this legacy of empowerment by offering programing to women who may be facing discrimination. Our Rights Now! Workshops empower young women of color to recognize, resist, and respond to sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and violence. Likewise, Legal Momentum’s Women Valued Initiative seeks to educate, empower, and elevate women who continue to be grossly undervalued in our economy - ensuring that all women, particularly marginalized women, are better informed about their legal rights.
As always, SYMS | Legal Momentum’s Helpline remains available to provide legal information and referrals on issues related to sex discrimination in the workplace, home, school, and the courts.
Protecting women’s and girls’ rights begins with the law.
Be part of the solution. Please share. SYMS | Legal Momentum Helpline remains available at NO COST to provide legal information and referrals on issues related to sex discrimination in the workplace, home, school and the courts.
Be part of the solution. Please share. In this time of challenge, our legal team immediately developed the NO COST Legal Rights and Economic Resources for Workers Impacted by COVID-19 including Spanish and Chinese translations.
Thank you for your ongoing support - you make our work possible! Stay safe and stay healthy.
The Legal Momentum Legal and Communications Team