Ernst & Young, one of the world's biggest accounting firms, is getting heat online after HuffPost released contents of a presentation that advised women in the office on how to look and behave, weeks after the firm reached a settlement in a sexual assault lawsuit brought by a former female employee.

According to HuffPost, the presentation was given to employees attending a training course called “Power-Presence-Purpose” at the firm’s office in Hoboken, N.J. Roughly 30 female executives attended the seminar, which took place in June 2018, according to HuffPost. The event was reportedly open to both men and women.

In a copy of the 55-page presentation obtained by the outlet, women were reportedly advised to make sure they appear “polished,” had a “good haircut, manicured nails” and “well-cut attire that complements your body type.” 


“Don’t flaunt your body ― sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women),” a part of the document also reportedly said. 

HuffPost spoke to a female former executive at the firm, who described the training as “more of a woman-bashing event.”

The woman said she was told during the course to not “show skin” if she wanted a man to pay attention during a conversation.

A document, titled “Masculine/ Feminine Score Sheet,” was also reportedly handed out to attendees during the course. Attendees were expected to rate to what extent they conformed to the list of "feminine” and “masculine” traits. 

The column designated for masculine traits included ones like “acts like a leader,” “ambitious,” “makes decisions easily” and “defends one’s own beliefs.” The column of “feminine” traits featured ones like “eager to soothe hurt feelings,” “yielding” and “childlike.”

The report from HuffPost got pushback from Ernst & Young, which told the publication that “any isolated aspects” about the presentation “are taken wholly out of context.” 

“We are proud of our long-standing commitment to women and deeply committed to creating and fostering an environment of inclusivity and belonging at EY, anything that suggests the contrary is 100% false,” it added.

The firm also said the course was well-received by women in the office and added that it was the female employees in the office who asked for the course.

Still, the company got heat online.

The course was offered to employees a month after the firm settled a sexual assault lawsuit with former partner Jessica Casucci.

Casucci sued the firm over its handling of a sexual assault complaint she brought against a male employee at the company's New York office, Reuters reports.

A spokesperson for the firm told The Hill in a statement that “the Power — Presence — Purpose program was under review and has been canceled."  

"This voluntary program, which was delivered to a small group of EY professionals, does not reflect EY’s values or culture and should not have been offered to any of our women. To ensure this can never happen again, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of our processes and controls around program content as there is no question that elements of the program included offensive content that is inconsistent with our core beliefs," the spokesperson continued. 

"The women of EY thrive because of the strength of their character, the authenticity they display and their capabilities. We value and celebrate the differences of our people and do not advocate conformity among our people.  We are incredibly proud of our women and our longstanding commitment to diversity, inclusion and creating a culture of belonging for all," the representative added.

—Updated at 7:28 p.m.