State Board Report

May 2017

Steve Rabin, CPA, 53, on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated has brought a class and collective action alleging PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC has violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The suit was filed on April 26, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, case no. 3:16-cv-02276. Not only does the suit challenge the firm’s policy of campus track hiring, but also a portion of its experienced track hiring.

The suit states: “Specifically, its campus track recruiting results in disproportionately higher employment of young employees than their older comparators. This is because PwC generally does not post job openings for associate and other entry-level positions on its website, even though it regularly posts job openings for ‘Experienced’ hires on its website. The only way to apply to these positions is through PwC’s campus track recruitment tool, which requires a college affiliation.” The suit also points out: “Because of the organization’s mandatory retirement policy [at age 60], PwC’s hiring personnel are incentivized to hire applicants under 40 years of age.”

The impact of this policy goes beyond the initial denial of employment, according to Mr. Rabin: “Older applicants denied employment at PwC continue to experience repercussions stemming from PwC’s discriminatory hiring protocols throughout their careers. Because many jobs in the accounting field require applicants to have previous employment at PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, or Ernst & Young (collectively known as the Big 4), accountants ages 40 and older are shut out of future business opportunities and professional growth as a result of PWC’s discriminatory policies. “

According to PwC’s predictions, in 2016 almost 80 percent of its employees would be Millenials (ages 21-36), while the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013 said approximately 35 percent of accountants and auditors nationwide were in that age group. In 2015 PwC reported having 53,656 people employed in its North American Region.

Mr. Rabin had applied for the position of seasonal experienced associate with PwC in October 2013 and within the month he was notified his application had been rejected. He is now seeking an injunction against the firm and its partners from engaging in practices that discriminate against him and his class because of their age. He is also seeking back pay, including interest and benefits for himself and his class, as well as damages for emotional distress and other remedies. The law firm of Outten & Goden, LLP, represents Mr. Rabin and has posted on the internet a notice that those who might be affected by the lawsuit should contact them. They estimate PwC has over 208,000 employees worldwide in 157 countries.

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