PricewaterhouseCoopers hit by sexist email scandal

by 17 Nov 2010

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is facing sexism claims after an email sent between a group of male employees rating the looks of young female recruits went viral on the internet.

The email was originally shared by 17 male colleagues, discussing the physical merits of 13 new female workers, thought to have joined recently as trainee accountants or associates.

The email, complete with photos of the women, had the subject line ‘this would be my shortlist for the top 10’.

But now, as the email has reached a far wider audience, the firm faces embarrassing reputational damage reminiscent of the Christina Rich affair in Australia in 2008.

Brit Rich settled for an undisclosed fee after three years in court over numerous allegations of sexual harassment at the hands of male colleagues.

She claimed that her career had been blighted by the "boys' club" culture at the Sydney-based firm.

PwC was alerted to the new ‘rating’ emails by the Irish Independent newspaper and launched an investigation.

Carmel O'Connor, PwC's human resources partner, told the paper: "We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are launching a full investigation. We will take all necessary steps and actions in line with our firm's polices and procedures."

The Irish Sun has since reported that three of the male employees involved in circulating the email have been suspended by the PwC.

The paper reported that an internal company message was sent by PwC bosses, warning that anyone who breached the company’s code of conduct and regulations would face “serious disciplinary action”.

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