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PwC sued for alleged bias, retaliation in Tampa office

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

An Arab-American of Moroccan descent has charged consulting giant PwC (formerly Pricewaters­houseCoopers) with discrimination and retaliation after it fired him and allegedly orchestrated his firing from another firm. Issam Azziz, who worked in PwC’s Tampa office, filed his lawsuit in federal court.

Azziz claims his career at PwC was going well until he was interviewed for the in-house newsletter about the company’s diversity initiative. Azziz commented that “there was room for improvement” in PwC’s efforts to build a diverse workforce. The remark never appeared in print, but three days after the interview he received a “performance note” from his manager criticizing his treatment of subordinates.

Azziz alleges that set off a chain of events resulting in his firing in July 2009.

Azziz points out that until the interview he was on track to become a partner. He had a string of positive performance evaluations and even had been awarded a “Great Performance Award” in 2004.

After being fired, he found work with another firm, but claims PwC managers interfered with that job and arranged to have him fired. He claims he is now effectively blackballed from the consulting industry.

Azziz only contacted the attorney after his second firing. By that time, too much time had elapsed to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Consequently, Azziz has only filed retaliation charges related to the second firing.

Note: If Azziz’s contentions are true, the employer made a last-minute attempt to add derogatory information to Azziz’s record. Courts always look at the timing of sudden changes in an employee’s record.

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