PwC investigates after HR execs accused of “racist and offensive” behaviour at staff trivia event

Australia’s largest consulting agency is investigating alleged racist behaviour at a staff trivia night after HR executives dressed as “a bat from Wuhan” and mocked Chinese accents.

PwC boss Tom Seymour has fast-tracked an internal investigation using external legal advisors in response to the actions of the two employees, who are paid to improve diversity at the company.

One of the workers, who reportedly spoke with a mock Chinese accent, is a senior manager of diversity and inclusion.

“A number of people shared their disappointment, frustration and anger about this event,” Seymour told The Australian Financial Review.

“On behalf of all the team at PwC, I am extremely disappointed that this incident has occurred … I am hugely disappointed we fell short of the standard we hold ourselves to.”

He said the “racist and offensive” actions did not reflect the culture of PwC, and that he has spoken to staff “reminding them to consider how our behaviour can impact others”.

The event where the behaviour allegedly took place was a virtual trivia night run by the HR team for the national infrastructure division.

“We aspire to be an inclusive and caring organisation. We have to work harder to meet this goal,” Seymour said.

The firm has a stark divide when it comes to diversity, with 44 per cent of its workforce indicating they were from a non-English speaking background, but only 17 per cent of partners indicating the same.

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