PricewaterhouseCoopers Faces Discrimination Suit

Despite developing a lucrative relationship with Boeing on behalf of her employer, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Melissa Page filed suit last month claiming she was denied partnership by one of the world’s largest public accounting firms, the Chicago Tribune reported.

With a law degree and 11 years of tax consulting experience, Page joined the firm in 2000, three years after joining the Chicago office. She claims her career was derailed by a corporate culture that kept women away from the very opportunities that led to partnership—including informal networking events, golf outings and other activities that would have given her more access to clients and company executives.

Partners at major accounting firms make upwards of $500,000 per year, the Tribune reported.

Page’s suit states that while half the company’s entry-level accountants are women, just 9 percent of the partners are women, the Tribune reported. She accuses PwC of systematically discriminating against women. Her attorneys are seeking class-action status believing there are potentially thousands of other women out there who may have a claim against the company, the Tribune reported.

This is one of several suits brought by women currently winding their way through the courts. Last month, a federal judge granted class-action status in a case against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that involves as many as 1.6 million women, the Tribune reported, adding that Merrill Lynch and the Smith Barney unit of Citigroup are still resolving multiple claims of sex discrimination in suits filed in the late 1990s.

"I think the risk for companies is high and getting higher," Michael Karpeles, a Chicago attorney who focuses on employment issues, told the Tribune. "It's getting higher because recent cases have emboldened employees and their lawyers to pursue these cases."

A spokesman for PricewaterhouseCoopers told the Tribune that Page's complaint is without merit and that the firm plans to vigorously defend itself.

"PwC is a recognized leader in employee diversity initiatives and takes its responsibility to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce very seriously," said spokesman Steven Silber. "With respect to Ms. Page, PwC went to great lengths to support and advance her career."

You may like these other stories...

Here's a CPA who truly walks the walk. On March 15, Frank Ryan, CPA, departed San Diego, California, with plans to be in Ocean City, Maryland, by July 2 to teach a course at the Maryland Association of CPAs’ (MACPA...
When Theodore J. Flynn first joined the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) in 1970, it was a different world and a different profession.  The "Big Eight" were still headquartered in Boston. Vietnam War...
Accountant Rickey Charles Goodrich had it a little too good. Many bean counters would kill to serve as financial guru to the likes of Pearl Jam. Goodrich was hired in 2005, and the following year, he became the CFO of Curtis...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 21Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience’s communication style.
Oct 22This webinar will include discussions of important issues in AU-C 800, Audits of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with Special Purpose Frameworks.
Oct 23Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.
Oct 30Many Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links.