A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that a proposed gender discrimination class action against accounting firm KPMG can proceed. The suit was brought by five former employees of KPMG, who claim that because they were women, they were denied pay raises and promotions, especially if they had children.
According to the suit, KPMG had a hostile work environment. The plaintiffs are seeking damages including $350 million in lost salary and benefits. KPMG claimed that the lawsuit was “entirely without merit,” and that “diversity and inclusion have long been priorities for the firm, and they are woven into our culture and everything we do.”
The firm argued that the former employees could not assert class action status in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes in 2011, which found that former and current female Wal-Mart workers did not have enough in common to certify the class. The judge rejected KPMG’s motion to dismiss the claims, saying that because the plaintiff’s allegations include some companywide policies, it’s “plausible” that they could achieve class action status.