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The Ann Hopkins Case Essay

2902 words - 12 pages

Relevant FactsAnn Hopkins worked as a senior manager for the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse for four years and was proposed for partnership in 1982. Her 1982 partnership class included 87 other candidates, of which Ann Hopkins was the only woman. Price Waterhouse' final decision was to place her nomination on hold. It was suggested that she be given more work with partners and undertake a quality control review in order to demonstrate her skills and dispel concerns about her.In the Ann Hopkins nominating proposal, she was praised for her "outstanding performance, virtually at partnership level". She had billed more hours, and generated more business than any other candidate. The admissions committee received 32 initial evaluations, 13 supported Hopkins for admission, 3 recommended she be put on hold, 8 had no opinion, and 8 opposed making her a partner. In the candidate evaluations, she received very few yes votes and more no votes than all but two of the other candidates that year.Ann Hopkins had four major work assignments during her time with Price Waterhouse. Each was successfully completed bringing in considerable business for Price Waterhouse. Most feedback from partners working with her and clients of hers had positive remarks about her and her work. There was some negative feedback about her "tough" and "abrasive" personality. She was promoted from manager to senior manager during this time. During an annual mandatory counseling session each employee went through, Hopkins was counseled to be more careful with her language.Price Waterhouse had recommended and elected two candidates who were criticized for their aggressive, abrasive and crude behaviors. The policy board had feared the company would lose these specifically needed candidates if they were not promoted. Price Waterhouse had only seven female partners, which they explained by stating accounting was a relatively new field for women and they lost good candidates to other firms.In 1983, some of her original supporters changed their decision and the partners in her office refused to re-propose her for partnership. She was told that it would be unlikely that she would ever become a partner at Price Waterhouse. With this in mind, Ann Hopkins was left with only four options:1. Leave the firm2. Transfer to the international area in hopes of making partnership next year3. Continue working knowing she had no chance of making partner4. Leave the firm and file lawsuit charging Price Waterhouse with sex discrimination.This case was so interesting I had to find out what the outcome was. Based on additional research via the web, turns out Ann Hopkins sued Price Waterhouse in Federal District Court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, charging that they had discriminated against her on the basis of sex in its partnership decisions. The District Court ruled in her favor on the question of liability, holding that Price Waterhouse had unlawfully discriminated against her on the...

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