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Accounting firm internal recruiters say "FEMALE ONLY CANDIDATES"---is this legal?

Chicago, IL |

My husband works for a Big Four accounting firm. He's considered senior management, although not a partner/owner. On many weekly management phone calls (that my husband is included on, also includes various partners, internal recruiters & HR staff), the HR lead openly says "FEMALE ONLY CANDIDATES" for various upper management positions, including partnerships.

This Big Four already has more then 50% women employed among their 40,000 worldwide employees (they publish stats yearly). They are women friendly, accommodate working mothers with flextime, etc. There are also several female partners within this particular business line.

How can this be legal---verbalizing openly if you have any qualified connections, please have them apply but "FEMALE ONLY"?

Thanks in advance.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. This is not legal, you should speak to an employment lawyer.

    The content of this answer has been prepared by Scott Legal Services, P.C. for general informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. Transmission or receipt of the content of this information does not create, nor is it intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Because each matter involves differing facts, online readers should not act upon the content of this website without seeking legal advice.


  2. This MAY be legal -- not enough facts (that is, relevant facts) are provided to make the determination. Whether your husband's firm has a right to engage in affirmative action for this position does not depend on the collective stats for the "Big Four." The Big 4 is not an entity that is evaluated for EEO purposes or subject to suit. Each company stands or falls on its own and each has its own employment issues. Your husband's firm may have rights and reasons for engaging in affirmative action and those should be disclosed to any interested 9affected) person upon request to HR.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


  3. Is he seeking a job but he's being excluded?

    My answering this question does not form an attorney-client relationship. Always retain a qualified attorney before taking any action. My office offers free consultations.


  4. This is typically referred to as reverse discrimination. There is pending before the US Supreme Court a reverse discrimination case. Although, one of the justices got into law school because she was a minority, and the two better students in front of her did not get in.

    I would file a discrimination claim if you are being harmed by the policy.

    You can also file with the EEOC since they may be looking at the employer. I just settled a case against Menards because the EEOC was focusing on its discrimination policy.

    Jeff Jacobosn 331-222-9529

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