Goldman Sachs lawsuit: Wall Street giant is a 'boys club where drinking, strip clubs and sexism tolerated'

Two female former employees claim women at Goldman Sachs were sexualised and paid less in explosive lawsuit

New York

Two former female employees of Goldman Sachs who allege the investment bank is an “uncorrected culture of sexual harassment and assault” where women are often paid less and denied promotion are now seeking class action status for their lawsuit.

If class action status was granted, the women could be allowed to include many more female associates and vice-presidents of Goldman's investment bank, investment management and securities divisions, who worked at the bank from 2002, in their legal efforts to win unspecified damages and back pay. 

Cristina Chen-Oster, a former vice-president and Shanna Orlich, a former associate, allege in their lawsuit Goldman has a “boys club” atmosphere where binge drinking, strip club visits and the sexualization of women are tolerated, and where women fear that complaining to employee relations is a “career ender.”

Goldman Sachs has always denied the women’s allegations and is fighting the case, and the investment bank did not immediately return calls on Thursday seeking any update on their position. It has previously stated "this is a normal and anticipated procedural step for any proposed class action lawsuit and does not change the case's lack of merit."

The women allege that at Goldman, female vice presidents earned 21 per cent less than male counterparts, female associates earned 8 per cent less, and 23 per cent fewer female vice presidents have been promoted to managing director.

“The record overwhelmingly demonstrates that year after year Goldman continues to treat women as second-class employees, permitting a culture of fear and retaliation to flourish rather than fixing known, systemic gender bias,” the lawsuit alleges.

“ A cross the firm, women now comprise only 17 per cent of managing directors, and only five of 34 members of the firm’s management committee," it continued. "Goldman’s discriminatory processes do not arise in a vacuum, but instead are shaped by a common culture of gender stereotyping and hostility towards women at the firm."

The many allegations include widespread concerns among women at Goldman about gender bias, promotion by Goldman of male employees and managers accused of misconduct towards women, and the stereotyping of working mothers as “unfit for or uncommitted to their careers."

One woman claims that she was denied opportunities to work as a trader, “while a male colleague with no more experience was given a trading seat right away” and then managers “challenged him to do push-ups on the trading floor due to his background in the Marine Corps.”

Orlich claims that despite being a golfer while at college, she was not invited to all-male golf outings that her male peers and male subordinates attended with managers.

"Unsurprisingly in such a culture, work events are held at strip clubs where the sexualization of women is endorsed and celebrated," alleges the suit.

It claims further: "In fact, Goldman has such a strong reputation for this kind of behavior that in 2005 the firm cautioned new associates in their orientation that while clients will ask to go to strip clubs, they should merely not ‘expense’ that entertainment. 

"However, the record above demonstrates that entertaining clients at strip clubs remained unabated, if frequently ‘off the books’."

The women claim that Goldman views women who have children as less committed to their jobs, “and penalises them for having children by reassigning key accounts, relationships, and roles.”

The suit alleges Goldman is “a firm where having children is disfavored and carries adverse assumptions about future performance …” and that women with grievances fear that “speaking to Employee Relations is a ‘career ender’.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore