Outten & Golden LLP and AARP Foundation: PricewaterhouseCoopers Faces Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Allegations: Civil Rights Violations Committed Against Accounting Job Applicants

SAN FRANCISCO—A new federal class action accuses PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”) of engaging in systemic and pervasive discrimination against older job applicants, the Outten & Golden LLP law firm, AARP Foundation Litigation, and The Liu Law Firm, P.C. said today.

Plaintiff Steve Rabin, a 53-year-old certified public accountant, alleges violations of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.  The lawsuit accuses PwC of engaging in a pattern and practice of age discrimination against accounting job applicants that are 40 years of age and older.

According to the complaint, “PwC’s culture and practice has distributed the benefits of its enormous success unequally – systematically favoring younger applicants at the expense of their older counterparts.”  As a result, the lawsuit asserts, “[T]he number of workers 40 years of age and older in entry-level and lower to mid-level positions at PwC is stunningly low.”

Further, the lawsuit alleges, “PwC’s policies and practices have the effect of deterring would-be applicants ages 40 and older from applying and denying job opportunities to those individuals ages 40 and older who do apply.”

Jahan C. Sagafi, of Outten & Golden LLP’s San Francisco office, said, “The class and collective action alleges that older applicants are systematically denied employment and are deterred from applying to work at PwC because of the company’s unlawful preference for younger workers.”

Plaintiff Steve Rabin said, “I hope this case causes older job candidates to be evaluated based on their ability to perform the job, rather than how well they ‘fit in’ at a firm where the average employee age is 27.”

William Alvarado Rivera, AARP Foundation Senior Vice President for Litigation, said, “AFL’s mission includes ensuring that job applicants of all ages, including older workers, have a fair shot at any position for which they are qualified. There is no justification for hiring based on unfounded age stereotypes.”

The complaint charges that, among other things, PwC intentionally refuses to hire older accounting applicants because of their age and uses a biased recruitment tool for entry-level accountant hiring that only accepts applications from individuals currently affiliated with a university. The complaint notes that PwC has espoused a strong corporate preference for attracting Millennial workers and maintains a mandatory retirement age of 60 for partners, which may contribute to the alleged discrimination in hiring.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global provider of accounting and auditing services, is a major employer, with a headcount of more than 208,000 employees in 2015, many of whom are accounting employees. In fiscal year 2015, PricewaterhouseCoopers generated $35.4 billion dollars in gross revenue.

Attorneys Adam T. KleinJahan C. SagafiKatrina Eiland, and Julia Rabinovich, of Outten & Golden LLP; Daniel B. Kohrman, Laurie A. McCann, and Dara S. Smith of AARP Foundation Litigation, of Washington; and Jennifer Liu, of The Liu Law Firm, P.C. in San Francisco, represent Mr. Rabin.

The case is Rabin v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Case No. 3:16-cv-02276 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint is available here.

More information about the litigation is available at www.pwcagecase.com or by calling 415.638.8800.

About the Plaintiff

Steve Rabin is a 53-year-old certified public accountant. After 15 years of technical work in the computer industry, he went back to school for retraining, and received his California CPA license in 2005. He has worked at several small accounting and audit firms, has participated in audits of private and public companies, associations, government entities, and has been a public-company controller. He currently has his own tax and consulting practice in San Francisco. His specialties include tax problem resolution, real estate matters, start-ups, and stock compensation.

About the Attorneys

Outten & Golden LLP (www.outtengolden.com) is a 50-attorney firm with offices in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. O&G represents plaintiffs in a wide variety of employment law matters, including national class and impact statutory discrimination cases, major class-based wage and hour violations, and contract negotiations.

AARP Foundation Litigation (“AFL”) (www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/legal-advocacy.html) has been committed to protecting the legal rights of vulnerable older Americans for more than two decades. AFL advocates on their behalf in federal and state courts across the country.

The Liu Law Firm, P.C. (www.liulawpc.com) is a San Francisco-based employee and civil rights law firm dedicated to helping individuals protect their rights in the workplace and on college campuses.

Contact: Jahan C. Sagafi, Outten & Golden LLP, 415.638.8800