Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Glass Ceiling Cases: A Review and Critique

The vast majority of employers fill internal job vacancies secretly and subjectively. Candidates don't have a chance to apply for these jobs, and they may not even know that promotional opportunities exist. Selection is made on the bases of the selector's "gut feeling" about who would be best suited for the position. The vast majority of employers also have a "glass ceiling," beyond which women and minorities have a very limited chance of advancing. The author defines a "glass ceiling" case as a lawsuit alleging discrimination in subjective promotion decisions where potential candidates don't have the chance to express their interest in these jobs. This paper will review the case law on glass ceiling cases and conclude with suggestions for increasing the success rate of plaintiffs in such cases.