Maybe PwC should consider pulling up the stakes in Tampa:
A Muslim who was a PricewaterhouseCoopers senior manager was interviewed for an article about diversity in a company newsletter and then fired when he criticized his employer, his federal lawsuit says.
Issam Azziz, 37, who worked in the company’s Tampa office, filed suit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court, alleging the company, now called PwC, discriminated against him because of his faith and race.
“What happened to me should not happen to any other person,” Azziz said in a news conference outside federal court. “They’ve gone out of their way to destroy my life.”
PwC has responded that “this lawsuit is without merit” (which I think is taught on the first day of Corporate Communications 101) and wouldn’t tell me much else but you get the feeling that this whole story is a bit of a dog and pony show. First of all, the press conference held by Mr. Azziz included appearances from his lawyer, Peter Helwig, the Tampa Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations and Ahmed Bedier, “a civil rights activist” which seems to indicate that this was a well oiled PR offensive. Secondly, this press conference occurred less than a week after PwC told Tampa and the State of Florida to shove their subsidies. You don’t have to be too clever to put that one together.
Anyway, you can watch clips of the conference here and here (no embed code, sorry). If you watch the video, Mr. Azziz alleges (through the words of Mr. Bedier) that the company’s “fraternity mentality” that includes “overnight partying, binge drinking and gambling” feels a little hyperbolic but whatever. I spoke to Hassan Shibly, the CAIR representative that appeared with Mr. Azziz but he declined to go on the record. Peter Helwig has not yet returned my call.
The other little twist is that you get from the story is that Azziz claims that after he found another job, PwC got wind of it and were the ones behind his dismissal from that firm:
The lawsuit claims the company orchestrated his firing from a second firm that later hired him and has effectively blackballed him from getting any other job in his profession.
The company “retaliated against (Azziz) in reprisal for his opposition to (PwC’s) racial discrimination against persons who are Muslim or of Arab ethnicity,” the suit says.
Maybe I’m just not as paranoid as I used to be but a firm like PwC going out of its way to blackball one person seems like a stretch. I understand that this is Florida and I’m not a Muslim (i.e. they aren’t exactly popular with some people) but COME ON. PwC is far more interested in ruining the lives of its current employees – it’s called client service.
Suit accuses PricewaterhouseCoopers of discrimination against Arab-American [SPT]
PricewaterhouseCoopers discriminates, suit states [TBO]
PwC Decides It Doesn’t Want $1.1 Million in Free Money From Tampa After All
There Appears to Be Some Fuss About PwC Tapping $2 million in Subsidies Once They Spend $78 million and Hire 200 People