Hastings Law Journal


Mark S. Kende


Historically women have experienced gender discrimination in employment and promotions, hitting a "glass ceiling" that prevents them from reaching the highest positions within academic institutions, corporations, and partnerships. Women partners are especially vulnerable to discrimination because federal and state anti-discrimination laws have been interpreted to protect "employees" not partners, who are "employers" by definition.

In his Article, Professor Kende tracks the progress of women in the legal profession and the glass ceiling that women encounter in trying to become partners and to reach the top management positions within partnerships. He argues that the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which governs virtually all contracts including partnership agreements, should be interpreted to prohibit law firms and other partnerships from discriminating against women partners. In support of this thesis, Professor Kende brings together several sources of legal authority, including wrongful discharge cases that have utilized the implied covenant, partnership fiduciary duty cases, recent revisions to the Uniform Partnership Act, and the public policies against gender discrimination embodied in 30 years of anti-discrimination statutes.

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