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Ellison v. Brady

924 F.2d 872 (1991)

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Ellison v. Brady

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

924 F.2d 872 (1991)

Facts

Kerry Ellison (plaintiff) and Sterling Gray were revenue agents for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in San Mateo, California. In 1986, Gray asked Ellison out several times, of which she only accepted once. Gray gave Ellison a note that said Gray had cried over Ellison. Ellison walked away from Gray, who followed her out of the building. Ellison showed the note to her supervisor, Bonnie Miller, who said that Gray’s actions were sexual harassment. Ellison went to St. Louis, Missouri, for training the next week. Gray mailed Ellison a letter, which said that Ellison was worth knowing “with or without sex.” Ellison called Miller, informed Miller that she was scared, and requested that Miller transfer either Gray or Ellison. Gray was transferred to San Francisco. Three weeks later, Gray filed a union grievance requesting a transfer back. The IRS and union agreed to grant Gray’s request if he spent four more months in San Francisco and stopped bothering Ellison. When Ellison learned of Gray’s return, she obtained a transfer to San Francisco and filed a formal complaint alleging sexual harassment with the IRS. The IRS agreed that Gray’s conduct constituted sexual harassment, but the treasury department rejected Ellison’s complaint because Gray’s behavior did not fall within the sexual-harassment guidelines established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Ellison appealed, and the EEOC affirmed on the ground that the IRS took adequate action to prevent Gray’s behavior. Ellison filed a complaint in a federal district court alleging sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). The court granted the government’s motion for summary judgment based on Ellison’s failure to state a prima facie case of sexual harassment in a hostile work environment. Ellison appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Beezer, J.)

Dissent (Stephens, J.)

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