Helping older applicants get jobs at PwC
On March 3, 2020, Plaintiffs Steve Rabin and John Chapman and Defendant PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) filed a proposed class and collective action settlement with the Court. On August 19, 2020 the Court preliminarily approved the settlement, which requires PwC to pay $11,625,000 and implement various elements of programmatic relief to ensure that older job applicants are protected from age discrimination in hiring decisions. On October 23, 2020 notice of the settlement was sent by email and mail to all covered individuals (those who have opted in by January 21, 2020) and those who applied to a covered position (Associate, Experienced Associate, and/or Senior Associate in PwC’s Tax or Assurance lines of service) between September 8, 2013 and January 21, 2020 in or from California and/or Michigan. The Court will hold a hearing on January 27, 2021 at 2:00 pm PT regarding final approval of the settlement. The Parties agree that the settlement is not an admission of liability.
On April 27, 2016, Steve Rabin, an older CPA who was denied employment at PwC, filed an age discrimination class and collective action on behalf of himself and all other unsuccessful PwC accountant applicants aged 40 and over from 2013 to the present. The lawsuit is titled Rabin v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Case No. 3:16-cv-02276, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
The class and collective action complaint alleges that PwC has engaged in systemic discrimination against older applicants for accounting positions. For instance, PwC primarily hires entry-level accountants through campus recruiting, does not post entry-level accountant positions on its website, and provides no ready mechanism for individuals no longer affiliated with a college to apply for these positions. Moreover, PwC prides itself on maintaining a young workforce, focusing on attracting and maintaining “Millennials,” and requiring partners to retire by age 60. The ageism that pervades PwC’s recruitment system and corporate culture has resulted in older accountant applicants being almost completely shut out of accounting positions at PwC.
The complaint alleges that PwC’s continuing policy, pattern, and practice of age discrimination against older accountant applicants violates federal and state laws, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. PwC disputes the allegations in the Complaint.
In February 2017, the Court ruled that Plaintiffs can pursue disparate impact claims against PwC under the ADEA. PwC had argued that job applicants are not allowed to pursue such claims under federal law. You can find more information about this recent ruling here.
On March 28, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ renewed motion to certify a nationwide collective of qualified applicants over the age of 40 who applied to Associate, Experienced Associate, and Senior Associate positions in PwC’s Tax and Assurance lines of service.
The Goal of the Lawsuit
The class action seeks to require PwC to hire accountants based on merit alone, without regard to their age, and to compensate accountants who might have been hired but for PwC’s discriminatory practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who does the settlement cover?
Covered individuals are applicants, ages 40 and older, who were denied Associate, Experienced Associate, or Senior Associate positions in the US anytime from September 2013 to the present and who had opted into the lawsuit by January 21, 2020, as well as those who applied to a covered position (Associate, Experienced Associate, and/or Senior Associate in PwC’s Tax or Assurance lines of service) between September 8, 2013 and January 21, 2020 in or from California and/or Michigan.
- What if I was impacted by PwC’s forced retirement at age 60?
While the complaint does not target forced retirement claims, it is possible that a forced retirement rule could lead to age discrimination in hiring by making the company less willing to bring on new hires who would be required to retire sooner than younger workers. Please call us if you were impacted by this policy.
- What if I worked for PwC but wasn’t promoted or was paid less than my peers?
Although these kinds of claims are not covered by the complaint in this case, they may be relevant to our challenge. Please call us if you would like to provide further information.
- What if I applied to a different company but have similar concerns?
We are investigating age discrimination by other companies. This lawsuit only covers PwC. Contact us if you would like to learn more about your rights.