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Hopkins v. Price Waterhouse

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
920 F.2d 967 (D.C. Cir. 1990)


Ann Hopkins (plaintiff) was a senior manager at Price Waterhouse (PW) (defendant). Hopkins was reviewed for promotion to partner, and the reviews generally indicated that Hopkins was highly competent, well liked by clients, a hard worker, and generally successful at her PW work. Some reviews, however, indicated that Hopkins was abrasive interpersonally and stated that this characteristic was particularly inappropriate because Hopkins was a woman. One review stated that Hopkins overcompensated for being a woman. PW denied Hopkins the promotion to partner. When Hopkins asked a PW partner about her partner candidacy, Hopkins was advised to walk, act, speak, and dress in a more feminine manner. Hopkins brought a discrimination suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the Act), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (1988). The trial court found that PW had violated the Act by denying Hopkins’s partnership as a result of sex discrimination. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed. The United States Supreme Court agreed that discrimination had occurred but remanded the case, finding that the lower courts should have applied a preponderance of the evidence standard, as opposed to the clear and convincing evidence standard, in offering PW the chance to demonstrate that Hopkins would have been denied partnership regardless of the sex discrimination. On remand, the trial court found that PW had not met its burden and ordered PW to elevate Hopkins to partner. PW appealed, arguing that even if the trial court had found a violation of the Act, the trial court could not elevate Hopkins to partner as a remedy for such violation.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Edwards, J.)

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