A former female senior manager at KPMG has filed a class action lawsuit accusing the accounting firm of discriminating against its female employees in pay, promotions and pregnancy leave. The lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court seeks $350 million in lost pay and benefits as well as other compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of thousands of current and former female managers at the company. The suit accuses the accounting firm of fostering a hostile work environment where women are underpaid and seldom promoted to leadership positions.
While women constitute nearly half of all employees at the company, they make up only 18% of all KPMG partners, according to the Complaint. It was alleged that Ms. Kassman, after a “stellar” early career at KPMG, was in line for promotion to managing director when a “troika of men … conspired to derail her career advancement,” the suit alleged. Male employees expressed gender hostility with complaints that Kassman was “too direct” and “unapproachable,” according to the suit. The company cut Kassman’s salary by $20,000 without any business justification when she took maternity leave, the suit said. The suit alleged that working mothers at KPMG who opt for a flexible schedule are forced to accept reduced pay while still shouldering full-time responsibilities. The law firm of Sanford Wittels & Heisler, with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, represents the Plaintiff in this case.
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