Hastings Law Journal


Mary F. Radford


In Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, the United States Supreme Court set out a framework for decisionmaking in cases in which impermissible factors, such as sex stereotyping, play a role in an employment decision. This Article examines the case in light both of current feminist legal theories and of psychological and sociological studies evidencing the prevalence of sex stereotyping in the workplace. The Article compares the Hopkins case with cases such as Craft v. Metromedia, Inc. and Hishon v. King & Spaulding, in which women also have sought-and been denied- success, in the highest positions of leadership and power in their professions. The Article concludes that the framework adopted by the Court in Hopkins is inadequate to deal with the subtle but very real obstacles encountered by women in a workplace imbued with sex stereotyping. It offers an alternative approach for dealing with such cases that is based on the recognition that promotion of women to the upper echelons of the professions contains the elements of a power struggle rather than merely a struggle for equality.

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