• Register
Return to: Home > News > Class action status granted for suit against PwC for alleged age discrimination

Class action status granted for suit against PwC for alleged age discrimination

A US court has granted class action status in a suit against PwC for allegedly discriminating against age in its recruitment policies.

The United States District Court Northern District of California has granted class action status for Steve Rabin and John Chapman’s (the plaintiffs) allegations that PwC US ‘maintain hiring policies and practices for giving preference to younger employees that result in the disproportionate employment of younger applicants’.

The court had previously denied class action but after Rabin and Chapman revised the collective definition the court has allowed for collective certification.

Rabin attempted to gain an associate position at PwC from 2013 to 2016, beginning when he was 50 years old. He said that his education and work experience, which included holding a CPA license in two states and providing accounting services for ten years, more than qualified him for an associate position at PwC.

Based on a PwC manager’s interview questions about Rabin’s ability to ‘fit in’ with younger employees and being unable to a apply for a position listed on PwC ‘campus’ recruiting website without a college email or mailing address, Rabin believes that PwC discriminated based on his age in failing to hire him. Chapman also described similar experiences.

The plaintiffs previously tried to get class action for ‘all individuals aged 40 and older who, from October 18, 2013 forward, applied or attempted to apply but were not hired for a full-time Covered Position (Associate, Experienced Associate, and Senior Associate) in the Tax or Assurance lines of service’.

The court denied this as Rabin and Chapman were not substantially similar to either unqualified applicants or deterred applicants, two groups that fell within their original collective definition proposal.

As their revised proposal excluded those which were unqualified and deterred applicants, the court granted class action status.

PwC oppose the motion, arguing that the plaintiffs have failed to offer ‘some reliable and verifiable way to identify who ‘met the minimum qualifications’’.

A large part of networks’ recruitment strategy is to work with university’s and higher education institutes to provide graduate programmes for potential employees. Speaking to a number of firms, one of the greatest challenges they face at the moment is the so-called war for talent, which makes it difficult to recruit and retain the best talent.

If this case brought against them is successful, it could have major repercussions on the recruitment strategy of firms.

IAB has contacted PwC US for comment and will update this article as and when comment is received.

Top Content

    South Africa: sensing new opportunities

    It has been an interesting couple of years for the profession in South Africa. A number of high-profile scandals have brought the profession and the role of auditors into sharp public focus, brewing a distrust towards accountants and a large expectations gap. Joe Pickard reports.

    read more

    Ghana: a quest for consistency

    Ghana’s current economic profile would suggest a fertile landscape for purveyors of accounting services. But inconsistent approaches to compliance and application of standards – coupled with problems in the banking sector and consequent liquidity constraints – have created a challenging environment. Paul Golden writes.

    read more

    Drone technology: audit takes to the skies

    The movement towards a digitised era has already impacted the auditing profession in a number of ways, from blockchain to artificial intelligence. Now firms are taking to sky and using drone technology in their audits. Mishelle Thurai speaks to Big Four firms to find out more.

    read more

    SBC: a new alliance joins the market

    Jonathan Minter speaks to Paul Tutin, chair of founding firm Streets Chartered Accountants, about why the business and its European partners took the decision to launch their own association.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.