Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is in court fighting former female employees’ request to reveal the names of two senior executives mentioned in internal complaints. This is the latest action in a case that has been making its way through the courts for more than a decade.
The women who filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the company asked for the disclosure of passages in filings related to their bid for class-action status. The plaintiffs initially agreed to publish only the executives’ titles but now want to reveal their names. One of the executives still works at the bank. The executives are not defendants in the case.
Attorneys for Goldman Sachs argue that revealing the names would only sensationalize the case and that the internal complaints amount to hearsay. The plaintiffs argue otherwise.
In a May 24, 2022, letter to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres, the plaintiffs said, “First Amendment rights attach to the names of high-ranking alleged sexual harassers identified at class certification.”
Judges Torres recently rejected the bank’s petition to throw out the bulk of the lawsuit. The judge also denied motions by Goldman and the plaintiffs for summary judgment in the 2010 lawsuit.
Lawsuit Says Goldman Sachs Routines Discriminated Against Females
In 2005, Cristina Chen-Oster filed a complaint against the bank with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate then sued five years later.
The complaint alleges that the bank favored males in several ways:
- Routinely paid female associates and vice presidents less than their male counterparts despite similar qualifications and responsibilities.
- Maintained practices that would promote males over equally or more qualified females.
- Failed to ensure fairness in evaluating employee performance, resulting in the undervaluing of female employees and impeding their career growth and pay.
The suit won class-action status in 2018, and now covers thousands of women.
The certified class consists of current and former female associates and vice presidents employed by Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking, Investment Management, and Securities divisions in the U.S. between Sept. 20, 2004, (July 7, 2002, in New York City) and the resolution of the lawsuit.
The largest U.S. banks, helmed by men, are watching the case closely.
The class-action lawsuit will proceed to trial. A date has not been set as of this writing.
Big Banks Accused of Gender Discrimination
Goldman Sachs is not the only bank under fire for supposed policies and practices that discriminate against women.
A financial adviser is suing JPMorgan Chase, alleging that the bank created a difficult working environment. She says she was excluded from key meetings and male financial advisers would try to steal her clients. Gwendolyn Campbell, who works from home in California, filed the complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in April 2022.
A lawsuit filed in March 2022 alleges Wells Fargo paid a female Wells Fargo Securities LLC manager less than male colleagues, refused to promote her, and retaliated against her after she complained of biased behavior.
Big banks are among the companies who have paid the most in damages and settlements, according to a 2019 report on employment discrimination and sexual harassment cases.
Big banks have reportedly paid the following in damages and settlements since 2000:
- Bank of America: $210 million
- Morgan Stanley: $150 million
- Wells Fargo: $68 million
The financial services industry has paid overall about $530 million, tying it with the retail sector for the most damages paid. Coming in third place is food/beverage products at $252 million, followed by pharmaceuticals ($209 million) and freight/logistics ($209 million).
Stand Up Against Discrimination in the Workplace
At Shellist Lazarz Slobin, we focus solely on employment law, giving our Houston-area clients a level of experience and knowledge not found at every law firm. We believe that everyone should be treated fairly and that they should be compensated when an employer falls short.
If you are experiencing gender discrimination or sexual harassment, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Send us a message online or call (713) 352-3433 to get started.