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June 2, 2011

KPMG sued $350m in gender discrimination suit

A former senior manager of KPMG US has filed a $350million class-action against the firm alleging gender discrimination denied women opportunities to move into leadership positions.

The plaintiff, Donna Kassman, worked at KPMG’s New York office for 17 years. She resigned, claiming she was denied a promotion and had received a salary cut before going on maternity leave.

The lawsuit alleges KPMG is engaged in systemic discrimination against female managers.

KPMG has denied the allegations and said that the firm has a strong commitment to supporting women in the workplace.

“KPMG is recognised as a leader for its strong commitment to supporting women in the workplace. In fact, among the Big Four accounting firms, KPMG is tied with the highest percentage of women partners. We believe this lawsuit is entirely without merit,” KPMG US spokesperson George Ledwith said.

Ledwith also said that women account for 51 percent of full-time campus hires last year and 46 percent of the firm’s workforce.

Kassman is said to be seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for herself and the class, including back pay and front pay. This includes compensatory, nominal and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.

The law firm representing the plaintiff, Sanford Wittels & Heisler, specialises in employment discrimination as well as labour and wage violations.

 

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