As a CPA professional, it is easy to think “A class claim will never happen to me!” However, while we do all we can to avoid such claims, there may always be that ONE unexpected time. To be honest, professional services firms such as CPA firms are EXTREMELY vulnerable. Why?
CPA firms have highly educated employees and staff. Between this type of staff and the labor intensive periods, (such as tax season) there may be room for internal issues and disputes. During such times, the long hours and hard work can create a fairly hostile work environment. Issues such as employee discrimination, wrongful discharge or even sexual harassment can happen during these periods, intentional or not.
If you do not believe us, take a second to read about a case tried in Chicago a few years back. A partner in a small professional services firm was accused of making sexual advances towards a young female employee. Being married with children, the partner denied the allegations. In the end, the jury sided with the plaintiff and entered a multimillion dollar judgment. This ultimately bankrupted the partnership!
Another case of discrimination occurred when a partnership failed to promote a black employee to a partner. The employee believed that the partnership was basing their action on race only, not merit. In the end, the jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded them with $3 million.
As you can see, these claims are real and yes, they can be common.
If you have any more questions about class claims and your CPA firm, do not hesitate to reach out to our agents at Mitchell and Mitchell Insurance Agency. We would be more than happy to speak with you about our specialized insurance solutions.