Inside the tragic final hours of a young female staffer at Ernst and Young who was found dead at her high-end Sydney office – after Friday night work drinks went horribly wrong
- Female staff member at EY is found dead at Sydney office after work drinks
- Police do not believe 33-year-old’s death is ‘suspicious’ and suspect self-harm
- Woman discovered Saturday night during peak auditing season after midnight
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A young female staffer who met colleagues for work drinks at an exclusive bar was tragically found dead just hours after returning to the office in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The 33-year-old was discovered at the Sydney headquarters of accounting firm Ernst & Young sending shockwaves through the industry – now in the midst of peak auditing season where some of county’s brightest number-crunchers scramble to meet deadlines for their high-powered clients.
Daily Mail Australia understands police suspect the woman took her own life and that the circumstances are ‘not suspicious’ but investigations are still underway to determine what happened after her last drink at the CBD’s Ivy nightclub on Friday.
The woman who was found dead at Ernst and Young’s central Sydney office had spent two hours earlier in the evening at glitzy Sydney watering hole the Ivy nightclub (pictured)
The woman, whose identity and position at the firm remain a mystery, arrived at the bar at around 5.30pm on Friday to join colleagues at an event organised by the accounting giant’s social club.
She spent the next two hours there and left just before 7.30pm for the short walk back to her office.
It has been alleged she was escorted from the venue by staff due to excessive consumption of alcohol, The Australian reported.
But CCTV seen by investigators once she returned to 200 George Street in Circular Quay, overlooking Sydney Harbour, do not suggest she was noticeably intoxicated.
It also remains unclear if the employee came back to the skyscraper to continue working into the evening or whether she was there for another reason.
In recent years, Ernst & Young now know under their trading name EY, have faced criticism along with the other big firm accounting firms – KPMG, Deloitte and PWC – for their extreme working hours and competitive cooperate culture.
The woman returned to Ernst and Young’s central Sydney office (pictured) at about 7.30pm on Friday. She was found dead hours later
Last year an email from bosses within EY’s Hong Kong financial services team set out their gruelling ‘peak season working protocol and expectations’.
‘Staff must start work by 9.30am and finish no earlier than 11.30pm,’ the email said.
“I think midnight is common in peak seasons – it counts on the discipline and responsibility of yourself.
“For weekends, I expect at least one day we are spending the whole day (from 10.00am-7.30pm) in office.’
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting that EY is an anyway responsible for the worker’s tragic death.
Police and ambulance crews were called to the Ernst and Young office at 12.20am on Saturday where they discovered the woman’s body
The firm’s management are now set to conduct a ‘comprehensive and wide-ranging internal review encompassing health and safety, security, social events as they relate to our staff’.
EY CEO and Regional Managing Partner David Larocca said the company’s employees were receiving counselling over the tragedy.
‘Our Chief Mental Health Officer will be part of an ongoing review and has been instrumental over the weekend in providing ongoing advice and guidance,’ he said.
‘Counselling has been offered to all staff and team members.’
EY is also assisting police with their ongoing investigation as a report is being prepared for the Coroner.
‘Our hearts go out the family and we have been in contact to offer our support and condolences,’ Mr Larocca said.
For confidential 24-hour support in Australia call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Who are Ernst & Young?
Ernst & Young is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious accounting and consultancy firms with about 600 offices worldwide.
Now known as EY, the firm provides audits for some of the globe’s largest companies and consults with governments on cooperate risk, technology and human resource services.
Headquartered in the UK, the firm is worth well over US$40billion.
International clients include Hewlett Packard computers, US telecoms giant AT&T, Coca Cola, General Motors, Hilton hotels and Lockheed Martin.
Australian clients of EY include retail giant Wesfarmers, Telstra as well as energy and minerals giants Newcrest Mining and Woodside Petroleum, along with various government departments.
The period after the financial year ends on June 30 and is considered one of the peak times where major companies will require audits.
Those working within the highly completive cooperate environment during this time are know to put in long hours.