A federal magistrate judge has denied an effort byPricewaterhouseCoopers to seal the number of would-be classmembers in an age discrimination suit that claims theaccounting and consulting firm unlawfully struck older jobapplicants from employment consideration.

|

The lawsuit, filed last year in U.S. District Court forthe Northern District of California by the AARP FoundationLitigation and the law firm Outten & Golden, alleges the hiringpractices at PwC are discriminatory.

|

The plaintiff’s attorneys estimated that some 14,000 potentialjob applicants over age 40 could be part of theaffected class. That number, until this week, had beenconfidential.

|

PwC’s lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis have argued that onlyexisting employees can bring such claims, not prospective ones. Thelawsuit is one of several pending in courts across the country thatconfront alleged hiring discrimination under the Age Discriminationin Employment Act. No class has been certified in the PwC case.

|

“The number of potential plaintiffs in this case is notprivileged, protectable as a trade secret, or otherwise entitled tolegal protection,” Outten & Golden’s Jahan Sagafi in SanFrancisco, the lead attorney working with the AARP, said in a court filing.

|

The company argued in court documents that the number wasconfidential. The company’s attorneys took a rare move inrequesting the number of potential class members be sealed in courtpapers. In court papers, the Kirkland team argued: “PwC disputesplaintiffs’ estimate, which is misleading given neither a class nora collective has been certified.”

|

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim of the Northern District ofCalifornia on Nov. 15 didn’t spend a lot of time writing herone-paragraph order rejecting PwC’s request to seal.

|

“Defendant seeks to seal the number of potential class membersinvolved in the litigation,” Kim wrote in her ruling.“The number of potentialmembers or number of members in the class is not confidential, andtherefore the request is denied.”

|

AARP attorney Dan Kohrman in Washington said the estimatednumber of class members reflects unsuccessful PwC applicants overage 40. He said the data to determine the class is complex andrequires additional analysis.

|

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 53-year-old certified publicaccountant Steve Rabin, who claims the firm has a low number ofolder workers in entry-level and lower- to midlevel positionsbecause of its practices of hiring workers at this level throughcampus recruiters and not posting entry-level opportunities to itswebsite.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.