~ Update includes statement from PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman
By now you’ve probably heard about Debrahlee Lorenzana, who was claiming that being an über-hottie caused her to get fired from her job at Citi.
The Big 4, having its share of hotties, now is facing allegations of its own discriminatory behavior. We were sent the following email that has been making the rounds at PwC about a young associate who was shown the door last Friday. Bravely, the author of the email included her name and phone number, which we’ve redacted:
I have been following the story about the banker in NYC who was fired for her “appearance”. I was just fired today [June 11th] froerhouseCoopers. I am a graduate of Lehigh University, I have been with the firm since September 2009. I would like to think I am competent enough to hold a job – I recently studied 8 hours for a CPA exam and passed. A test that I have watched my peers struggle with – studying for months and failing multiple times. I have 3 of 4 CPA exams completed, and I am 3-3 in my testing.
Anyway, I was placed on an engagement with an all-male team and one female partner. I was given a poor review on this engagement, however, my work received glowing reviews. On all my other teams I have gotten feedback that I am a pleasure to work with, intelligent, hard-working etc.etc. Per my performance review, they noted that the reason I performed below expectation was because I had a negative attitude with my team and the other piece of feedback I received, from this female partner, is that I was dressed inappropriately because I didn’t wear tights with my skirts in the winter. This is during a time we lived out of a hotel, working from 9am-4am, 7 days a week, and the last thing on anyone’s mind is clothes. I am a 22 year old girl, and I definitely do not “look the part” of an accountant. While on my team with all males, I received constant harassment about how I should “sleep with the senior manager (who was very disliked) to make him cooler” or “you have to go talk to the client cause you are hot”. My mentor from the firm was on my team as well, and every day would comment on my appearance, such as, “Did you lose weight? You look good” or “Your legs look fabulous today”. I was also told that my senior on the team was “in-love with me” and that I should “hook-up with him”. During this period I had a boyfriend whom I expressed my deep deep frustration on this with. Since my employment at the firm, I have been constantly harassed by the partner who hired me. I received such e-mails as, “I am home alone in my hot tub, you should come” or text messages like “So what color underwear are you wearing?” which, I kept my mouth shut about. Keep in mind this individual is married, with kids. Eventually I went to HR when I received my performance review because obviously there was a major disconnect. Of course, they “fully investigated” with the team of all males, and today I was told that I was fired, for under-performance. I was denied a copy of my performance reviews (which as our review policy goes – are given back to each individual at the firm). I inquired as to whether HR had spoken to other individuals I had worked with, and they told me “it was irrelevant” and that my review was contingent only upon “this one engagement (as referred to above)”. Bear in mind that I have worked on 5 other clients since September 2009, and these reviews were thrown to the wayside.
I have been following the story in the news about the woman banker fired in NYC, and have received multiple comments from my co-workers such as, “I can see them doing this to you” or “this is probably why the female partner doesn’t like you – cause you are hot”. Obviously, there seems to be an underlying theme here.
I graduated with a 3.4 from Lehigh, majoring in Accounting and minoring in writing. I got a 1410 on my SAT’s, a near perfect split of 710 Verbal and 700 Math. Throughout my life, the one thing I was sure of was my ability to compete intelligence-wise with my peers, and often exceed far above. So you can understand my extreme confusion and frustration that I could be capable of under-performing, at a firm, where there is documented proof on paper I perform well above my peer group.
So I come to you, whomever may be concerned, as this is an issue I am bringing to light and will hire an attorney for. I was wrongfully terminated – without a fair reason. I have saved all of my work performed while at PwC to provide as evidence of comparison with my peers. If this type of story strikes interest with anyone over at the NYT, I am more than happy to share more information. Like they say, Big Fours are “slave-drivers”, and yet again, they perpetuate this image.
I can be reached by telephone at [redacted]. I live in Stamford, CT and worked on clients from NYC to NJ to CT. Thank you for taking the time to read this – I am a bit flustered still from today’s events, but find no better way to vent than by writing.
SO! That’s a lot to digest. Being a fan of fantastic gams (who isn’t, amiright?) is one thing but verbalizing it in the middle of internal controls testwork is entirely another. That being said, a text requesting the hue of undies is whole other level of awkward.
Our calls, emails, telegrams, and messages by carrier pigeon to PwC have not been returned.
UDPATE: PwC spokesman Jon Stoner provided us with the following statement:
As a matter of policy and practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers is fully committed to maintaining a workplace free of sexual harassment. We take any complaints about sexual harassment seriously, and investigate any such claim thoroughly and confidentially. That is exactly what we did in this case, and we did not find any basis to the allegations.