Irish accountants investigated for “top 10” list of female co-workers

Email circulated at accountancy firm goes viral; spurs employer investigation
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 11/12/2010

A large accountancy firm in Ireland has launched a sexual harassment investigation after an email circulated through the company ranking a “top 10” new female employees.

A male accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Ireland compiled an email listing 13 attractive female associates, complete with pictures from the company’s intranet, and sent it around to a group of male co-workers with the subject “this would be my shortlist for the top ten.” The email initially circulated among 17 male accountants, with several adding crude comments, including one who said “have reservations about the last one getting in.” The e-mail soon spread and senior management for the company caught wind of it.

PwC launched an inquiry under its sexual harassment policies.

“We are taking this matter extremely seriously at the highest level and have commenced a full investigation,” said a PwC spokesperson.

The 13 women all recently joined PwC as first-year accountancy trainees out of university and were expected to train for about three years.

Despite the controversy, some viewed the email in a somewhat different light. It was reported the parent of a female PwC employee called in to a national radio show in Ireland to complain her daughter didn’t make the list.

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