PWC Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Helping older applicants get jobs at PwC

The Settlement
On March 3, 2020, Plaintiffs Steve Rabin and John Chapman and Defendant PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) filed a proposed class and collective action settlement with the Court.  On August 19, 2020 the Court preliminarily approved the settlement, which requires PwC to pay $11,625,000 and implement various elements of programmatic relief to ensure that older job applicants are protected from age discrimination in hiring decisions.  On October 23, 2020 notice of the settlement was sent by email and mail to all covered individuals (those who have opted in by January 21, 2020) and those who applied to a covered position (Associate, Experienced Associate, and/or Senior Associate in PwC’s Tax or Assurance lines of service) between September 8, 2013 and January 21, 2020 in or from California and/or Michigan.  On February 3, 2021 the Court granted final approval of the settlement.  Settlement payments were mailed in April 2021.  The Parties agree that the settlement is not an admission of liability.

The Complaint On April 27, 2016, Steve Rabin, an older CPA who was denied employment at 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 the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. PwC disputes the allegations in the Complaint.

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 March 28, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ renewed motion to certify a nationwide collective of qualified 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 Goal of the Lawsuit The class action 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.

Reserve Fund:

This class action Settlement includes a Reserve Fund of $300,000, which has been set aside from the Settlement Fund to compensate Claimants who (a) applied in good faith to PwC for a Covered Position for which they were qualified between March 10, 2021 and June 10, 2022, but they were not hired during that period, and (b) they believe that PwC’s failure to hire them was at least in part due to age discrimination, and (c) submit a Reserve Fund Claim Form that is received by the Settlement Administrator or postmarked by September 10, 2022.

To get more information or submit a Reserve Fund Claim Form, click here.