KPMG Gender Pay, Promotion and Pregnancy Discrimination Class Action

Case Description

Case Type: Gender Discrimination
Company: KPMG
Kassman, et al., v. KPMG LLP

On April 13, 2021, the Court approved the settlement agreement in Kassman et al. v. KPMG.  The motion to approve the agreement and the Court’s Order are linked on the right.

Case History

In June 2011, Class Representative Donna Kassman filed a lawsuit against KPMG to remedy KPMG’s systemic discrimination in pay and promotion, discrimination based on pregnancy, and chronic failure to properly investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination and harassment. In late 2011 and again in 2016, the lawsuit was amended to add Named Plaintiffs from around the country who had experienced discrimination similar to what Ms. Kassman had suffered. The most recent version of the complaint is available here.

KPMG, the Big Four Accounting Firm that boasted a global revenue of more than $26 billion in 2017, had attempted unsuccessfully to derail the litigation numerous times throughout the years. For example, on February 7, 2013, Judge Furman of the Southern District of New York handed KPMG a resounding defeat in its attempts to avoid litigation of class-wide claims. When KPMG attempted to characterize the experiences of the Plaintiffs as isolated and insufficient to support class litigation, the Court denied KPMG’s motion and allowed the class claims to move forward. Later, when Plaintiffs asked the Court to send Notice to the thousands of women who, according to Plaintiffs’ evidence, have been systematically underpaid for years, KPMG again vigorously opposed this motion. On July 8, 2014, Judge Schofield of the Southern District of New York handed KPMG yet another defeat, ordering that approximately 9,000 women be given the opportunity to join the Equal Pay Act claims in the case.

The Court granted conditional certification of the Equal Pay Act collective and ordered that notice be mailed to the affected women, and around 1,100 women (current and former employees) joined to challenge KPMG’s unfair compensation.

Throughout the first half of 2018, Plaintiffs submitted legal arguments and evidence to the Court arguing that it should certify a class of approximately 10,000 women in the Tax and Advisory functions at KPMG alleging pay and promotion claims, and for final certification of the Equal Pay Act collective on behalf of the approximately 1,100 opt-in plaintiffs with claims of being paid less than comparable men. The motion and the reply detail how women were underpaid and underpromoted to a statistically significant degree, and the common problems with KPMG’s pay and promotion policies and practices. It also describes a culture rife with gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.

KPMG presented its own evidence and arguments and, on November 30, 2018, the Court denied the certification of the class and the Equal Pay Act collective. While the Court acknowledged KPMG’s common pay and promotion policies and its gender disparities in pay and promotion, the Court held that the women challenging KPMG’s pay and promotion policies cannot pursue their claims together.

Please contact Plaintiffs’ Counsel if you have any questions.

If you have questions about the case against KPMG, you can get more information in the following ways by emailing Plaintiffs’ Counsel at kpmgclassaction@sanfordheisler.com.

Case Materials

Our Team

David SanfordDavid Sanford
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Kate MuetingKate Mueting
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Thomas J. HendersonThomas J. Henderson
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Associate
Washington, DC

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