Elizabeth Hishon (plaintiff), a woman, was hired as an associate at the law firm King & Spalding (defendant). According to Hishon, during the hiring process, King & Spalding led her to believe that she would be promoted to partner on a fair and equal basis, after a certain number of years of satisfactory employment with the firm. This assurance informed her decision to join the firm. After subsequently seeking and being rejected for a partnership position at the firm, Hishon sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., alleging sex discrimination.