This blog has recently discussed developments in a variety of wage-and-hour misclassification cases involving Audit Associates at Big Four accounting firms. There have been two more recent developments, both relating to one particular accounting firm's refusal to disclose information (in a case in which Outten & Golden serves as co-counsel). In back-to-back orders, a federal judge in New York ordered preservation of electronic data and disclosure of documents previously filed under seal.
On December 20, 2011, we reported here about developments in a variety of overtime cases involving audit associates at Big Four accountant firms, including a recent conditional certification of a collective action against Deloitte (our firm is co-counsel in that matter, http://www.deloitteovertimelawsuit.com/).
The Big Four accounting firms in the U.S. - KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Ernst & Young - retain cadres of unlicensed employees who work in high-pressure, entry-level positions variously titled "Associate," "Audit Associate," "Audit Assistant," "Advisory Associate," and "Unlicensed Associate." Their task is to execute transactions that are essentially rote and clerical. Yet the Big Four routinely classify these employees as "professional" or "administrative" to exempt them from overtime requirements under federal (Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA) and state law.