Before the passing of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, bosses could fire their secretaries for not sleeping with them, without fear of legal recourse. You could sexually harass anyone in your company and never experience any consequences. Since Title VII changed the face of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, a bevy of landmark cases have helped set important precedents for distressed workers across the country.

In 1976, the case of Williams v. Saxbe allowed the Court to recognize quid pro quo sexual harassment as a form of sex or gender based discrimination. Quid Pro Quo harassment occurs when an employer requires an employee to submit to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature as a condition of employment, either implicitly or explicitly.

In the suit, Diane Williams, the plaintiff, alleged that she had had a good working relationship with Harvey Brinson, her supervisor at the U.S. Justice Department where she was employed as a public information specialist, up until she refused a sexual advance made by Mr. Brinson in June of 1972. Ms. Williams, an African American woman asserted that thereafter Mr. Brinson engaged in a continuing pattern and practice of harassment and humiliation of her, including but not limited to, unwarranted reprimands, refusal to inform her of matters for the performance. Eventually, Ms. Williams was terminated from her position in September of 1972.

The Court ruled in favor of Ms. Williams, thus helping future victims of quid pro quo sexual harassment successfully file suits against their bosses. To learn more on TITLE VII, landmark sexual harassment cases or different types of sexual harassment visit our sexual harassment laws and lawyers page. If you were fired for refusing sexual advances in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. Make sure to secure the representation of a highly qualified New York City sexual harassment lawyer before taking legal action — only an attorney can give you the full scope of your rights.

The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in New York City. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 for a free consultation or contact us online.