Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 5:12 PM

No Accounting for Litigation

To be more precise, there's litigation for accounting firms, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers is feeling the heat of union pressure in the form of a website created by Unite Here, the mega-union formed through the merger of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees. At issue is Campbell v. Pricewaterhouse Coopers, a certified class action pending in the Eastern District of California (2:06-CV-02376) , brought on behalf of "all associates" in PWC's Attest Division who worked at any of the six Attest offices in California between October 27, 2002 and the present. Plaintiffs' theory is that the associates - unlicensed accountants - have been misclassified as exempt. The presiding judge, Lawrence K. Karlton, granted certification last March, but refused to allow the two named plaintiffs to fish in a larger pond, saying that the plaintiffs knew nothing about "what associates in other divisions do."

Why the union cares remains a mystery, although union involvement in wage-hour litigation is a regularly-occurring phenomenon; just ask Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods and the poultry industry, to name three examples. At any rate, the union - which may know no more about the matter tahn the plaintiffs know about the rest of PWC's operations - characterizes the employer as maintaining a "white-collar sweatshop" where excessive hours are worked without overtime pay. While we hesitate to dignify this with a republication, we'll let you draw your own conclusions.


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