Wigdor LLP represents Karen Ward, a Partner at Ernst & Young (“EY”), in connection with her claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation against EY, one of the largest accounting firms in the world. Ms. Ward was a highly successful EY employee who was responsible for bringing in approximately $50 million in revenue to EY in the last 5 years of her employment.
In a complaint filed in the EEOC on September 24, 2018, Ms. Ward alleges that her direct supervisor routinely sexually harassed her, including making inappropriate comments about her body and propositioning her for dates. Male leadership at EY also regularly discriminated against Ms. Ward based on her gender; for example, EY’s male leadership regularly entertained clients at strip clubs, which acted to ensure that women would be excluded from important client meetings, according to the EEOC complaint. These trips would later become offensive topics of conversation at work and in Ms. Ward’s presence. Ms. Ward repeatedly complained about the discrimination she faced and other unlawful conduct, including violations of securities laws, to her superiors at EY.
The EEOC complaint alleges that, instead of addressing Ms. Ward’s complaints, EY openly retaliated against her by warning her not to complain, and eliminating all support for her group and ultimately terminating her employment.
The EEOC complaint further alleges that EY engages in a pattern and practice of discriminatory hiring, promotion and pay practices. As alleged, Ms. Ward was told by an EY executive that she earned hundreds of thousands of dollars less than her similarly-situated male peers, and less than 10% of TRE’s management-level employees were women at the time Ms. Ward was hired.
Ernst & Young’s lack of female leaders is no accident, said former partner Karen Ward, but the result of a hostile environment where women are demeaned, devalued and isolated. https://t.co/ks7E4vaVMf
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) February 11, 2019
Plaintiff is represented by Wigdor LLP Partner Michael J. Willemin.
Statement from Michael J. Willemin, Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“EY is led almost entirely by men who foster and promote a ‘boys club’ culture where women are unpaid and subjected to constant discrimination and sexual harassment. To protect the men that engage in this conduct, EY openly retaliates against women who are courageous enough to stand up for their rights and complain. It is particularly offensive in this day and age for a company to attempt to bully and intimidate women into staying silent. Ms. Ward will not stay silent.”