While our culture has made progress against sexism within the past decade, the sad truth is that sexism and sexual discrimination still exists. Several reports and stories have been publicized in the past few years regarding the treatment of women in the workplace. Women have a harder time getting higher positions of authority at work than men, and are often paid a salary much lesser than their male counterparts. The Ann Hopkins case represents the legal and ethical issues of a corporate structure.
Ms.Hopkins was a dedicated, able, and intelligent employee of PriceWaterHouse Coopers who believed that she would be next in line for a partnership with the firm. In her years with PriceWaterHouse, Ms. Hopkins has brought much to the company. She has successfully completed big projects as project manager (this includes the State Department, Farmers Home Credit, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs projects). Because of the successful outcomes of these big projects, Ann Hopkins believed that she will become the next partner for PriceWaterHouse Coopers.
The outcome of the case was that PW decided to put her partnership status on "hold" due to her interpersonal skills. However, because the decisions are made by existing partners whom were mainly men, there were impressions that Ms. Hopkins felt she was a victim of sexual harassment. This case brings light the legal and ethical issues in which corporations must deal with everyday. Legal Issues: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has defined sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. i??
Given this definition, do we believe that Ann Hopkins was a victim of sexual discrimination as defined by the EEO? Sexual discrimination can happen in many ways. In Ann Hopkins case, other men were hired instead of her with equal abilities. There is evidence to prove that PWC violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination of any kind. . There is evidence to prove that Ann Hopkins was denied a partnership based on the fact that she is female.
Thomas Beyer, who did the final review of Ann Hopkins nomination, stated that Ms. Hopkins "soften her image in the manner in which she walked, talked, and dressed… "He also advised her that she needed to "look more toward appearing more feminine," to wear more jewelry and make-up, to style her hair, and to dress less in "power blues. "This comment made by Beyer is totally insignificant to Ann Hopkins ability to perform her duties as a partner.
Whether she wore more pink or appeared more feminine, she still carries the same capabilities of performance versus if she wore more of her "power blues. " It later stated that after this, two more of the partners who initially nominated Hopkins withdrew their support. "Reviews of her work on the State Department Real Estate management project were, on balance, favorable. " i?? There was no reason for either of the male parties to withdraw their support based on Beyer's comment that Hopkins present herself in a more feminine fashion.
However, it is a proven fact over and over again that Ann Hopkins has carried out all of her projects with high scores and great comments on her work ability. One colleague quotes that "Ann has the will to get things done. " Her lack of femininity should not be a factor in why she should not be made a partner. Another issue that presented itself was that in order to be made a partner of the firm, at least 75% of the votes had to be in agreement. Why then did PWC admit one candidate who had support from only 14 of the 30 partners, while Ann Hopkins had 13 of the 32 partners support?
This should raise a few eyebrows in terms of if a rule was already made, why then is their an exception made for this male candidate and no exception was made for Ann Hopkins? This further indicates that PWC is not in accordance with the EEOC and is in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by making an exception for a male employee, but not giving the same exception to a female employee. If I were upper management in PWC's position, there are several things I would do in order to avoid any whistle blowing on behalf of Hopkins.
First off, it was stated that most of the partners in the company were male, except for 7. Why then were the 7 women not included in the voting of new partners? PWC needs to reinstate their decision and allow for the seven women to voice their opinions. Second, it has been determined that Ann Hopkins has "interpersonal" issues. It has been my experience that when an employee does not meet the standards and expectations of certain things, it is upper management duty to coach and train them.
In Ann Hopkins case, instead of dismissing her from a partnership, I would admit her under a trial period and put her through communication courses in order to strengthen her interpersonal skills. Corporations have a duty to ban any form of sexual harassment, and this starts at the top and trickles to the bottom. The image of an individual is no reason for that person to be discharged from a promotion; rather, it should be the ability of the individual to perform his/her job. PWC needs to revise their structure of a partnership in order to avoid any legal issues.