PricewaterhouseCoopers is paying $11.6 million to settle an age discrimination lawsuit.
After finding itself on the receiving end of discrimination accusations, PricewaterhouseCoopers recently agreed to pay $11.625 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it discriminated against older applicants for certain positions. PricewaterhouseCoopers is a global accounting firm. Specifically, the lawsuit argued the company systematically discriminated “against older applicants for associate, experienced associate or senior associate positions in the firm’s tax or assurance practices.” According to the settlement agreement, the accounting firm must now implement a “hiring program that would allow candidates 40 or older to apply for entry-level positions” and commit to ensuring age discrimination doesn’t happen again. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California presided over the litigation process.
Additionally, the firm will be required to “hire a consultant to advise on inclusivity and age bias in the hiring and training process, advertise positions to older workers, and avoid asking graduation date information of applicants who have graduated from college before making a job offer,” according to the agreement. Furthermore, the company will be required to “make public and internal statements expressing its commitment to diverse hiring, including using age-diverse photos in its recruiting materials.”
When commenting on the recent agreement, Shannon Schuyler, the firm’s chief purpose and inclusion officer said the firm is “proud to affirm its commitment to identify and hire older workers.” She added:
“The commitments in this settlement will help PwC remain one of the most sought-after employers in the country. Our workforce represents the diversity of perspective, life experiences and backgrounds, and welcomes talented workers across the age spectrum.”
As part of the settlement agreement, Outten & Golden, AARP Foundation Litigation and Liu Law Firm, the attorneys for the plaintiffs, mentioned in the settlement papers that they are requesting a “35% fee, or $4,068,750, which they say is considerably lower than the $6,488,000 in lawyer time they’ve put into the hotly contested litigation.” Once that fee is added to the proposed monetary relief so far, “a more realistic assessment of the settlement value is $16,625,000, which would put the fee request at 24.5% of that amount.”
When commenting on the recent settlement, Jahan Sagafi of Outten & Golden said:
“We and AARP Foundation believe strongly that age discrimination in hiring, in particular, is a significant problem today and limits older workers access to jobs and contributes to unemployment problems. It also limits employer’s access to talent because wherever you have a company discriminating they are shooting themselves in the foot by limiting the pool of talent they can draw from.”