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140 current female KPMG US employees join lawsuit against firm

MORE THAN 140 current KPMG US fee-earning female staff have opted in to a lawsuit against the firm.

Lawyers contacted 9,000 current and former fee-earning female staff from KPMG in the US, in October 2014, to join the class action. A former KPMG manager, Donna Kassman, spent 17 years in the firm’s New York office before resigning, claiming that she and other women had suffered gender discrimination.

Nearly 900 women have currently opted into the case. Of the 845 that have been processed by class action representative Kate Kimpel, of law firm Sanford Heisler, 142 are from existing staff. The opt-in period runs until 31 January.

Kimpel claimed that the number of current employees that had already opted in was high. In similar instances, they tend to wait until the end of the time period before opting-in, to gauge response from their peers, she added.

“It’s easier for previous employees to opt in, they’re less worried about retaliation. I’m sure the number of current employees [opted in] will rise dramatically,” she told Accountancy Age.

KPMG has previously vigorously denied the allegations in the claim against the firm. “We will not comment on pending litigation, except to say that KPMG thoroughly and repeatedly reviewed the allegations in this case and found them totally unsupported by the facts,” said a statement from a KPMG spokesman.

“KPMG is deeply committed to the career advancement of women and confronting the challenges women too often face in the workplace, and we take very seriously any concern about discrimination or unfair treatment. KPMG is replete with and led by many talented and successful women and, as we have noted previously, diversity and inclusion have long been priorities for the firm.”

Two senior KPMG US executives “vehemently” disagreed with the accusations made in the Kassman case, in an opinion article at the end of December.

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