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In the tragic final hours of a young Ernst and Young employee who was found dead in her upmarket Sydney office – after Friday night work drinks went horribly wrong

  • EY staff member found dead in Sydney office after drinking on the job
  • Police do not believe the 33-year-old’s death was ‘suspicious’ and suspect self-harm
  • Woman discovered in the early hours of Saturday amid peak audit season
  • Do you know more about this story? Email [email protected]
  • For 24-hour confidential support in Australia, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

A young employee who met colleagues for drinks at work at an exclusive bar was tragically found dead just hours after returning to the office.

The 33-year-old was discovered at the Sydney headquarters of accountancy firm Ernst & Young in the early hours of Saturday morning, sending shockwaves through the industry – now in the midst of peak auditing season where some of the most brilliant county figures scramble to meet deadlines for high-powered customers.

Daily Mail Australia understands police suspect the woman took her own life and the circumstances are ‘not suspicious’, but inquiries are still ongoing to determine what happened after her last drink at Ivy nightclub CBD on Friday.

The woman who was found dead at Ernst and Young’s central office in Sydney had spent two hours earlier that evening at Sydney’s glitzy watering hole, the Ivy nightclub (pictured)

The woman, whose identity and position within the firm remains a mystery, arrived at the bar around 5.30pm on Friday to join her colleagues at an event organized by the accounting giant’s social club.

She spent the next two hours there and left just before 7:30 p.m. for the short walk back to her office.

It was alleged that she was escorted from the venue by staff due to excessive drinking, The Australian reported.

But CCTV footage seen by investigators once she returned to 200 George Street at Circular Quay, overlooking Sydney Harbour, did not suggest she was visibly intoxicated.

It is also not known if the employee returned to the skyscraper to continue working in the evening or if she was there for another reason.

In recent years, Ernst & Young, now known by its trade name EY, has come under criticism along with the other big accounting firms – KPMG, Deloitte and PWC – for its extreme working hours and competitive corporate culture.

The woman returned to the Ernst and Young central office in Sydney (pictured) around 7.30pm on Friday  She was found dead hours later

The woman returned to the Ernst and Young central office in Sydney (pictured) around 7.30pm on Friday She was found dead hours later

Last year, an email from the bosses of EY’s financial services team in Hong Kong laid out their grueling “working protocol and peak season expectations”. It is not suggested that the same decree applies in Australia.

“Staff must start work by 9:30 a.m. and finish no earlier than 11:30 p.m.,” the email said.

“I think midnight is common during high seasons – it depends on how disciplined and responsible you are.

“For the weekends, I expect at least one day where we spend the whole day (10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) in the office.”

Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting that EY is in any way responsible for the worker’s tragic death.

Police and paramedics were called to the Ernst and Young office at 12:20 a.m. Saturday where they discovered the woman's body.

Police and paramedics were called to the Ernst and Young office at 12:20 a.m. Saturday where they discovered the woman’s body.

The company’s management is now preparing to carry out a “full and wide-ranging internal review encompassing health and safety, security, social events as it relates to our staff”.

EY CEO and regional managing partner David Larocca said employees at the company were receiving counseling about 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.

“Advice was offered to all staff and team members.”

EY is also assisting the police with their ongoing investigation as a report is being prepared for the coroner.

“Our hearts go out to the family and we have been in touch to offer our support and condolences,” Mr Larocca said.

For 24-hour confidential 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 consulting firms, with approximately 600 offices worldwide.

Now known as EY, the company provides audits to some of the world’s largest companies and consults with governments on cooperation risks, technology and human resource services.

Based in the UK, the company is worth well over US$40 billion.

International customers include Hewlett Packard computers, US telecommunications giant AT&T, Coca Cola, General Motors, Hilton hotels and Lockheed Martin.

EY’s Australian clients include retail giant Wesfarmers, Telstra as well as energy and minerals giants Newcrest Mining and Woodside Petroleum, as well as various government departments.

The post-exercise period ends on June 30 and is considered one of the peak periods when large companies will require audits.

Those who work in a highly competitive corporate environment during this time are known to put in long hours.

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