November 24, 2020

The Olds vs. PwC: $11.625 Million Settlement Reached In Age Discrimination Case

A lawsuit filed almost four years ago by two accountants who claimed that the hiring policies at PwC discriminate against applicants over the age of 40 from landing entry-level positions at the firm is finally coming to an end. And the Olds got PwC to settle.

Law.com reported today:

PricewaterhouseCoopers has agreed to pay $11.625 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the global accounting firm discriminated against older applicants for certain positions.

The deal, outlined in court papers filed Tuesday evening, would require the global accounting firm to commit to a hiring program that would allow candidates age 40 or older to apply for entry-level positions. The programmatic relief, that the firm would be required to maintain for at least two years under the deal, includes hiring a consultant to advise on inclusivity and age bias in the hiring and training process, advertising positions to older workers, and to avoid asking graduation date information of applicants who have graduated from college before making a job offer. The settlement also requires the company to make “public and internal statements” expressing its commitment to diverse hiring, including using age-diverse photos in its recruiting materials.

The proposed settlement, which could include up to 5,000 applicants who weren’t hired by PwC, still has to be approved by a federal judge.

Remember when PwC and its attorneys called the age discrimination claims “simply false?” While the firm still contends it did nothing wrong, it definitely wants you to believe that “we love, and have always loved, older workers.”

In a statement, Shannon Schuyler, PwC’s chief purpose and inclusion officer and robot chauffeur, said:

“PwC is proud to affirm its commitment to identify and hire older workers. 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.”

The age discrimination lawsuit, which was filed in April 2016 by CPA Steve Rabin, claimed that PwC’s practice of campus recruiting to fill staff positions puts more seasoned workers at a disadvantage. Rabin said he interviewed for an accounting job with PwC in 2013 when he was 50 years old but was turned down in favor of a younger accountant.

Co-plaintiff John Chapman said he also applied “numerous times” for a PwC position while he was between the ages of 45 and 48 but was never hired.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California ruled last April that the age discrimination lawsuit could proceed as a collective action. Rabin and Chapman’s lawsuit sought to cover “all individuals aged 40 and older who, from October 18, 2013 forward, applied or attempted to apply but were not hired for a full-time covered position (associate, experienced associate, and senior associate) in the tax or assurance lines of service.”

Rabin and Chapman were represented by Outten & Golden, AARP Foundation Litigation, and The Liu Law Firm.

As a fellow Old, who is pretty certain wasn’t hired for jobs that I was definitely qualified for because of my age, I salute Rabin and Chapman for bringing age discrimination to light. And hopefully PwC saying it wants to give older adults an opportunity for a career in public accounting isn’t just lip service.

PwC to Pay $11.6M, Make Hiring Commitments to Settle Age Discrimination Claims From Older Applicants [Law.com]

Related articles:

Older Job Seekers Denied Class-Action Status in Age Discrimination Lawsuit Against PwC
The Olds vs. PwC: Age Discrimination Case Can Proceed as a Collective Action

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