Accenture Accused of Racial Discrimination

April 12, 2010 ( – A new lawsuit accuses consultant Accenture LLP of racial discrimination for refusing to hire a Latino worker after finding he had a criminal record.

Business Insurance reports the complaint says that according to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 17% of adult black males and almost 8% of Latino males have been incarcerated compared with just 2.6% of white males. “As a result of these statistical disparities, restrictions on hiring individuals with criminal records have a far more severe effect on African-Americans and Latinos than on whites,” says the lawsuit, which seeks class action status, according to the news report.   

The lawsuit claims “policies such as Accenture’s effectively import the discrimination present in the criminal justice system into the employment sector.”

Roberto J. Arroyo vs. Accenture L.L.P., filed Thursday in federal district court in New York, says Arroyo worked for Accenture as a contract employee in its Murray Hill, New Jersey, office from November 2005 to April 2007 when the firm offered him permanent employment subject only to the results of a background check. Accenture withdrew the job offer and terminated his employment as a contract worker based on his conviction.  

The complaint notes that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act “requires that where significant racial disparity exists, the use of criminal history can be considered only where the employer can prove that the particular crime at issue is related to the particular job in question, and that denial of position is necessary for the employer to conduct its business,” and that Accenture’s policy “is neither job-related nor consistent with business necessity.”   

Among other things, the suit seeks an order that Accenture institute policies that provide “equal opportunities for all applicants and employees regardless of criminal history status,” unless the status meets those qualifications.   

According to Business Insurance, in a statement, an Accenture spokesman said the firm “is confident that after an objective review of the facts, Mr. Arroyo’s current claims will be found to be baseless. Since this is now ongoing litigation, we cannot discuss the matter in more detail at this time.”