Helping older applicants get jobs at PwC
On April 27, 2016, Steve Rabin, an older CPA who was denied employment at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“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 Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
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 December 21, 2017, Plaintiffs moved to certify a nationwide collective of similarly situated 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 motion requested leave to allow all such applicants to receive notice of the lawsuit and decide whether to join the case. On July 26, 2018, the district court denied the motion without prejudice and invited Plaintiffs to file a revised motion by August 27, 2018 – 216(b) Order. In doing so, the district court found that “Plaintiffs have adequately shown a uniform decision, policy, or plan on the basis of PwC’s centralized and uniform hiring policies, and the substantial evidence of age disparities in hiring.” Plaintiffs plan to file a renewed motion that complies with the Court’s guidance.
The Goal of the Lawsuit
The class action seeks 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.
What You Can Do to Help
If you have information about these issues, would like to submit a complaint, or would like to know more about your rights, we would be happy to speak with you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (415) 638-8800 for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who does this lawsuit cover?
All applicants ages 40 and older who were denied Associate, Experienced Associate, or Senior Associate positions in the US anytime from October 2013 to the present are included. Additionally, individuals ages 40 and older who were deterred from applying to these positions because of their age are also included in the group that the Plaintiffs seek to represent.
- What can I do to help?
Call us to learn more about the lawsuit and how you can help.
- 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?
While this lawsuit only covers PwC, it’s possible that you may have claims against a different company. Call us if you wish to learn more about your rights.