Zimmerman v University of California-Berkeley
Katherine Zimmerman, a self-employed single parent with 10 years experience in the computer industry, was running her own computer consulting business from home while raising two daughters. She applied to the part-time evening MBA program at the University of California-Berkeley so she could continue to manage her recently formed business and still have time to care for her young children. She was informed that the evening program requires applicants to be "fully employed," defined as working 40 hours per week in a paid position outside the home. Zimmerman was told that 100 percent of stay-at-home mothers are turned away from the school's evening program, regardless of work history. She applied to the program twice and was rejected both times. After filing her second application, Zimmerman was told she would not be interviewed until her employment status changed. School officials later acknowledged that Zimmerman would not find many mothers in the evening program.
Zimmerman sued the University, challenging the business school's discriminatory admissions policies as adversely affecting women with children. Zimmerman settled her lawsuit with the University in 2001. Although the University satisfied only one of the four terms she requested, Zimmerman was pleased that the principal term of her lawsuit was addressed.