Siegal & RichardsonLLP

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Class action case against KPMG moving forward

A class-action lawsuit against KPMG has more than 1,100 plaintiffs who allege sexual harassment during their employment at the Big Four accounting firm. The case was originally filed in 2011, but it has grown as more plaintiffs have joined; it was granted class-action status on a conditional basis in 2014 based on claims made under the Equal Pay Act. Employees in California might be interested in the case as it raises workplace harassment issues that resonate with many workers in the U.S.

The lead attorney on the case said KPMG discriminates against female employees in regard to promotions/pay and has a culture that does not address this discriminatory behavior. The plaintiffs are seeking final certification under the Equal Pay Act along with class certification of the claims made under Title VII.

According to a spokesperson for KPMG, the claims are without merit and the company will put forth a vigorous defense. Among the allegations in the complaint are that men at KPMG grabbed women's thighs, breasts and buttocks, and that they told women to wear high heels or lipstick if they wanted to secure business for the company. KPMG allegedly allowed the sexual harassment to occur without punishment and allegedly failed to properly respond to complaints of rape or criminal sexual assault.

Employers in California have a duty to provide employees with a safe work environment that's free of harassment. In a case where a person believes that they've been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, a lawyer may be able to help. An attorney with experience in labor and employment law might examine the facts of such a case and identify parties who may be liable.

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