Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 109 S. Ct. 1775; 104 L. Ed. 2d 268; (1989).
Vote: 6 votes for Prince Waterhouse - 3 votes against.
Author: Adriana Romantini
Legal topics: Civil Rights.
- Facts. Ann Hopkins was a female and a very successful manager at the firm’s Office of Government Services. In 1982, she was considered for partnership at Price Waterhouse. Of the 88 candidates for partnership, she was the only woman and she had the best record at generating new business and securing multimillion-dollar contracts for the Big Eight accounting firm.
However, despite her clear success in bringing business to the company, and high praise from other partners as an "outstanding professional" with a "strong character, independence, and integrity," her candidacy was put on indefinite hold. And then, she eventually resigned and sued the company for sex discrimination, arguing that her lack of promotion came after pressure to walk, talk, dress, and act more femininely. She argued that these…show more content… Hopkins sued Price Waterhouse in federal district court alleging sex discrimination in violation of Title VII after she was refused partnership in the firm. On the other hand, the firm admitted that Hopkins was qualified to be considered for partnership and probably would have been admitted, but for her interpersonal problems.
The District Court held that Price Waterhouse had unlawfully discriminated against Hopkins. However, the courts below added that an employer who has allowed a discriminatory performance in order to motivate an employment decision must prove by clear and convincing evidence that it would have made the same decision in the absence of discrimination.
- Issue and holding.
Whether Price Waterhouse’s rationale of denying Ann Hopkins a promotion based on her deficient interpersonal skills was a legitimate basis on which to deny her partnership, or just a pretext for sexual discrimination that breaches Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights