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When she first brought her lawsuit claiming sex discrimination against Price Waterhouse more than a decade ago, Ann B. Hopkins acknowledges that the action made her a pariah in the industry. In a strikingly candid evaluation, Hopkins was told that even though she brought business to the firm, she was being passed over for partnership because she was too aggressive, particularly for a woman; she was advised to be more feminine, get new clothes, get a haircut. Instead, she got a lawyer. In 1989, the Supreme Court held that comments about femininity could amount to gender discrimination, a victory for Hopkins that ultimately resulted in her return to the firm as a partner two years later. But the Court also held that so long as there was a non-discriminatory reason justifying a firm decision not to promote a woman, even comments like these would not prove sex discrimination.

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