Older applicants challenge PwC's alleged preference for younger workers

Dive Brief:

  • Two job applicants have waged a class-action suit against PricewaterhouseCoopers for allegedly favoring young hires, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plaintiffs are two men, ages 53 and 47, whose applications for entry-level associate positions were denied by the firm.
  • PwC has branded itself as the place to work for millennials, says WSJ. As a major accounting firm, it hires thousands of new college graduates annually for full-time jobs and internships.
  • According to WSJ, the plaintiffs have years of accounting experience between them. They contend that their applications were rejected because of PwC’s alleged preference for youthful workers, therefore violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The company argues that the law applies to current workers and not applicants.

Dive Insight:

Under the ADEA, workers 40 and older are a protected class under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Most claims stem from older workers who believe they were terminated or otherwise replaced by younger workers.

Regardless of intent, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has come out strongly against any forms of ageism, particularly in the hospitality and tech industries, where hordes of younger employees can also be found.

Understandably, PwC wants to be an employer of choice for the largest segment of employees in the U.S. workforce — millennials. Attracting young workers will be key to stemming the coming retirement wave. But employers must proceed cautiously when promoting the recruitment of specific workers to avoid the appearance of hiring and promoting one group at the expense of another.

The court case is worth watching to see if PwC’s claim about Congress’ intent of the ADEA prevails.

Filed Under: Recruiting Legal