Hopkins vs Waterhouse

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Prima facie, Law Pages: 5 (1473 words) Published: April 9, 2011
Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins Objective. The purposes of exercise 7.3 are twofold: (1) to acquaint students with an important U.S. Supreme Court case related to performance appraisal; and (2) to allow students to consider the implications of this case as they relate to appraisal system development, implementation, and administration. The background case information includes the specifics of a lawsuit filed against Price Waterhouse by a female manager (Hopkins), who was rejected as partner candidate. The basis for the former litigation is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The former overruled a 1989 Supreme Court decision. Under the 1989 Price Waterhouse ruling, the Supreme Court allowed the defendant an opportunity to present a "mixed motive" argument. The "mixed motive" argument states that setting aside the "motivating factor," the Company would have made the same personnel decision. The Company was thus given an opportunity to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it relied on valid reasons in making decisions. Section 107 of CRA 1991 established that if the plaintiffs demonstrating race, color, sex, religion, or national origin constituted a "motivating factor" in an unfavorable personnel decision, that personnel practice is unlawful under CRA 1991. Under CRA 1991, once the "motivating factor" is established, the plaintiff will prevail. The issue of whether an employer would have made the same decision in the absence of any discriminatory motive becomes relevant only in the remedial phase of the litigation (e.g., determination of damages, back pay, reinstatement, and promotion). If the defendant can establish that the same decision would have been made, the courts have the discretion to grant declarative relief, attorney's fees, and other costs. We should evaluate the existing Price Waterhouse appraisal system in the context of five (5) issues: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Measurement content Measurement process Defining the rater Defining the ratee Administrative characteristics

These are issues that should involve partners, managers, employees, and HR professionals. Finally, specific recommendations for change (if necessary) should reflect the seven (7) steps cited in Chapter 7 on developing appraisal systems: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 1. Start with job analysis Specify performance dimensions and develop performance anchors Scale the anchors Develop a rating form or program Develop a scoring procedure Develop an appeal process Develop rater and ratee training programs and manuals

What legal statute applies to this case?

Ann Hopkins was a senior manager in an office of Price Waterhouse when she was proposed for partnership in 1982. She was neither offered nor denied admission to the partnership; instead, her candidacy was held for reconsideration the following year. When the partners in her office later refused [490 U.S. 228, 232] to repropose her for partnership, she sued Price Waterhouse under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., charging that the firm had discriminated against her on the basis of sex in its decisions regarding partnership. Judge Gesell in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in her favor on the question of liability, 618 F. Supp. 1109 (1985), and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed. 263 U.S. App. D.C. 321, 825 F.2d 458 (1987). The Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve a conflict among the Courts of Appeals concerning the respective burdens of proof of a defendant and plaintiff in a suit under Title VII when it has been shown that an employment decision resulted from a mixture of legitimate and illegitimate motives. 485 U.S. 933 (1988). Hopkins was ultimately awarded a partnership and prevailed in the case. 2. What additional data or information would be...
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