Court rebuffs KPMG in American sex discrimination case

22 February 2013 Consultancy.uk

A U.S. judge rejected the objections of a class action lawsuit against KPMG because of sex discrimination. The case was filed last summer by an employee and is now shared by four other employees of the office. The indictment that was filed last summer is turning out to be a harmful issue for KPMG. The plaintiffs seek $ 400 million in compensation. The judge gave them permission to sue KPMG collectively.

KPMG referred to a similar case at Wall-Mart, the U.S. retailer. There, the judge dismissed the proposed class action. The result was that each plaintiff had to man an individual case.

Court rebuffs KPMG in American sex discrimination case

"What KPMG was trying to do was to prevent women from joining together and using the class-action mechanism to try and prove that they as individuals, but also as a group, had experienced discrimination at KPMG", says Katherine Kimpel of the law firm Sanford Heisler. 

"They wanted to make each woman fight individually in individual cases and to not be able to get evidence or ask for discovery from KPMG of their overall policies, practices and procedures for how women are compensated, promoted, developed and assigned to jobs. KPMG didn't want them to be able to get that information in discovery and used that motion to try to prevent that, and the court did not allow them to do that."

The complaint of sex discrimination was submitted by an employee who felt left out over a promotion. When she complained about it, she was cut in her salary, with the addition of discriminatory statements by her boss. One of the offending remarks was that the woman in question did not need the salary, because she was wearing a beautiful engagement ring.

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