Ethics and Discrimination

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Discrimination is a complex issue that affects everyone. It involves all races, sexes and religions. Subtle discrimination exists in the workplace, whether people want to accept it or not. Recognizing this fact is the key to overcoming the obstacles of cultural differences and to successfully integrating all levels of the corporate world. Ann Hopkins had been with Price Waterhouse's Office of Government Services in Washington, D.C., for five years when the partners in her office proposed her as a candidate for partnership in 1982. Of the 662 partners at the firm during that time, only 7 were women. Of the 88 people proposed for partnership that year, only 1 -- Hopkins -- was a woman. Forty-seven candidates were offered partnership, 21 rejected, and 20 -- including Hopkins -- were "held" for reconsideration the following year. A two-thirds “Yes” vote from the full Partnership was required to be offered partnership. Thirteen of the 32 partners that submitted comments on Hopkins supported her bid for partnership. Three partners recommended that her candidacy be placed on hold, eight stated that they did not have an informed opinion about her, and eight recommended that she be denied partnership. In a jointly prepared statement supporting her candidacy, the partners in Hopkins' office showcased her successful 2-year effort to secure a $25 million contract with the Department of State, labeling it "an outstanding performance" and one that Hopkins carried out "virtually at the partner level." Hopkins "had no difficulty dealing with clients and her clients appear to have been very pleased with her work" and she was generally viewed as a highly competent project leader that worked long hours, pushed vigorously to meet deadlines and demanded much from the multidisciplinary staffs with which she worked. On too many occasions, however, many people that she worked with deemed Hopkins’ aggressiveness as too abrasive. Long before her bid for...
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