Case 7.4: Hopkins V. Price Waterhouse

Question 1

No, I believe public accounting firms do not have a responsibility of facilitating the career success of female employees. This is because whether an employee is qualified for promotion within a firm is dependent on the methodology used for evaluation. The methodology is usually up to the firm’s hierarchy that is usually based on varied criteria. This might be the ability to attract new clients, specialized knowledge or quality of work. The decision would also be based on the needs that the firm has.

Among the policies that could be implemented to facilitate the retention rate of female employees is:

  • Review the promotion and performance appraisal policies to ensure that they are working in favor of female employees.
  • Instituting flexible leave/work policies for all the employees.
  • Using more female personnel during the recruitment and employee development process as they are likely to understand the plight of their fellow females.


Question 2

The “old boy network” is a phrase used to refer to an informal system within a firm where men are believed to use their positions of power and influence to help the people (mostly men) they share a similar social background with or attended the same school.

Professional firms should try to break these networks. The networks work as a hindrance for more qualified personnel to gain employment in these firms, more so women who do not qualify to be in these networks due to their gender. This will also ensure that promotions are conducted in a fair manner.

Question 3

The alternative courses of action that the auditor’s employer might consider include:

  • Informing the client that his request is unreasonable and cannot be honored since the grounds established do not warrant.
  • Resigning from the engagement.
  • Removing the auditor from the engagement.

The best alternative would be informing the client that his request is unreasonable and cannot be upheld. If the client persists with the request, now the audit firm will have a concrete ground of resigning from the engagement.

Question 4

The nepotism rules of many professional firms tend to have both benefits and costs to the firm involved. The purpose of these rules is to ensure that the appropriate individuals are employed and retained by the firm. In a public accounting firm, the benefits of the nepotism rules include the ideology that the firm gets a better chance to prosper and thrive over time since the most qualified employees are the ones receiving promotions and consequently remain with the organization. The costs involved in the other hand include the fact that qualified and competent employees are not allowed to take on leadership positions in the firm since they are related to another person in the workforce.

I think the rules are equally unfair to both sexes. This is because both might be competent and qualified to take on a leadership position, but their status makes it impossible. Both have to decide on whether to compromise the employment of one for the advancement of the other.

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