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Are job fairs on college campuses discrimination based on age? Lawsuit accusing PwC says so

A person passes the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in St Helier on April 12, 2017 in St Helier, Jersey.
A person passes the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in St Helier on April 12, 2017 in St Helier, Jersey.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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Two job applicants filed a lawsuit  against PricewaterhouseCoopers arguing that campus recruiting hurts chances for men and women over 40 to land those same jobs.

Attorneys for the candidates, who say they applied to London-based PwC dozens of times, aimed to convince San Francisco District Judge Jon Tigar on Tuesday that thousands of other older workers were similarly disadvantaged by the accounting firm’s system. PwC argued in court that its hiring practices are merit-based. A spokeswoman for the firm said that campus recruiting is an approach used by many large employers and that half of the company’s full-time hires in 2018 will come from campus-recruiting efforts.

A ruling on whether a bias for young recruits prevented those applicants from getting jobs at PwC could be years away. Meanwhile, the judge is expected to decide whether to add a roughly 14,000 other older workers who didn’t get job offers from PwC to the case in the coming weeks.

We ask our experts, can job applicants prove they weren’t hired due to age discrimination.

What about a job description that says candidates can't have more than a particular number of years of experience, can this be considered a form of discrimination as well?


Steven J. Kaplan, a labor employment lawyer and former chair of LA County Bar's labor and employment section; he is also an adjunct professor at UCLA

Lisa Klerman, a mediator specializing in employment law disputes; a former attorney, she is also a clinical professor of law at USC

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