Associate and senior associate accountants have filed a class action suit against PricewaterhouseCoopers, alleging that they were improperly denied overtime pay and other benefits during their employment with PwC. Plaintiffs in the case of Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers filed a motion for class certification that seeks to certify a class of all associates and senior associates employed by PwC in the state of California.
Specifically, the plaintiffs contend that under California law, only certified public accountants can properly be classified as exempt from receiving overtime. The lawsuit, which has now been pending for more than a year, is the first to reach the class certification stage against one of the Big 4 Accounting firms.
Plaintiffs' attorney, Bill Kershaw, of the firm Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, noted that, "For years, the Big 4 Accounting Firms have ignored Federal and State laws mandating the payment of overtime to unlicensed accountants. This is in stark contrast to smaller accounting firms, many of whom comply with California's overtime law and pay overtime to their unlicensed associates as non-exempt employees. The business practice of not paying overtime is simply not fair to the associates or to smaller accounting firms who are forced to incur higher labor costs and are thus at a competitive disadvantage. If the court certifies the class in this case, it could have a significant impact on the way accounting firms do business throughout the country."
The case of Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Case No. 06-CV-02376.