E-mail about female staff leads to PwC inquiry

 

AN E-MAIL in which some male staff in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) rated the looks of their female colleagues has led to an investigation by the accountancy firm.

The firm met the women concerned yesterday and offered them its full support in dealing with the matter.

PwC spokeswoman Johanna Dehaene said the firm launched the investigation after the e-mail was brought to its notice on Tuesday evening.

The e-mail with the catchline “This would be my shortlist for the top 10” contained pictures of young women who had recently joined the firm.

One e-mail seen by The Irish Timescontained 13 photographs with the employees’ names and departments and was circulated among 17 male staff members.

One comment on the forwarded e-mail commended the “great work” done in compiling the list.

The e-mail was later circulated to people working in other companies before coming to the attention of the media.

Ms Dehaene said the matter was being treated “extremely seriously at the highest level” by the firm.

“We are taking all of the necessary steps and actions in accordance with the firm’s policies and procedures,” she said.

“Our main concern is the impact of this on the women who were the subject of these e-mails. We met with them earlier today to give them all of the support they may need in dealing with this.”

She said the firm regretted the situation. “It has always required its people to adhere to the highest level of standards in their conduct and behaviour.”

This is a further embarrassment for the global company which was in the headlines in 2008 because of a sexual harassment claim in Australia. Former PwC partner Christina Rich received a settlement thought to be the equivalent of several million euro following her claims of sexual harassment.