A proposed class action age discrimination lawsuit has been filed against the giant accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco, and claims that the accounting firm structures its hiring practices so that it avoids even considering hiring many older applicants. As a result, according to the lawsuit, the firm has a “stunningly low” number of workers over the age of 40.
The lawsuit claims that the firm’s enormous success has been unequally distributed, and the company systematically favors younger applicants instead of older applicants. The firm allegedly focuses its recruiting on college applicants, which is one of the issues raised in the case. There is also a mandatory retirement age of 60, which discourages older applicants from applying.
The lead plaintiff in the case is a 53-year-old CPA who says that he was turned down as a job applicant in the firm’s San Jose office in 2013. Instead, a younger applicant was hired. The man is asking the Court to order a change in the accounting firm’s policies, as well as for compensatory and punitive damages.
A company spokesperson says that the claims alleged in the lawsuit are false. She claims that the firm’s hiring practices offer equal opportunity to all applicants, and that the firm devotes a huge amount of resources to recruiting a diverse workforce.
If this accounting firm actually did discriminate against older employees, it would be violating state and federal law. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, discrimination against an employee or a job applicant who is age 40 or older is illegal. The Act does not protect workers who are under the age of 40 from discrimination.
Under the law, age discrimination is forbidden when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, layoffs, benefits, training, promotions, and any other term or condition of employment. The law also forbids harassment based on age. Harassment includes rude remarks about a person’s age. However, isolated incidents, lighthearted teasing, and an occasional offhand comment that isn’t very serious is not illegal. Harassment based on age is illegal when it occurs so often or is so severe that it creates a hostile work environment.
A company can also be held liable for age discrimination if it has a policy or practice that applies to everyone, but has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or over, and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age. For example, if a company solely recruited on college campuses, and the company refuses to hire from anywhere else, that could be considered as age discrimination.
If you believe you have been the victim of age discrimination in the Oakland-San Francisco area, call the Oakland age discrimination attorneys at Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe job applicants and employees should be valued for their experience, and that any job applicant or employee who is discriminated against based on age should consider suing for age discrimination.
If you have been the victim of age discrimination or harassment, call the Oakland employment law attorneys at Liberty Law today. We work with clients who have been victims of employment discrimination to help protect their legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, lost benefits, emotional damages, and more. Call us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.