Hishon, a female attorney, was hired as an associate in a large law firm 2001. She had accepted the position based on the firm’s representations that associates would advance to partnership after five or six years and that being promoted to partner “was matter of course” for associates who received satisfactory evaluations. The firm also maintained that promotions were made on a “fair and equal basis”. Hishon consistently received satisfactory evaluations, yet her promotion to partnership was rejected in 2007. She again was considered and rejected 2008. The firm’s rules state that an associate passed over from promotion must seek employment elsewhere. Hishon was therefore terminated by the firm on December 31, 2008. The firm, with more than fifty partners, has never had a female partner. Hishon filed a complaint alleging gender discrimination against the firm. The firm replied that the selection of partners is not subject to Title VII because it entails a change in status ‘from employee to employer.” Does Title VII apply to such partnership selection decisions? Does Anderson’s complaint state a claim under Title VII? (Hishon v. King & Spaulding)
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