Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Wall Street Often Left Unaccountable for Workplace Sexual Harassment – Is the System Rigged?

Wall Street Often Left Unaccountable for Workplace Sexual Harassment – Is the System Rigged?

Despite numerous women coming forward with workplace sexual harassment claims against male counterparts, there is one industry where senior executives seem to be left without any accountability for their misconduct – finance. And some women think enough is enough. The financial industry appears to spawn just as many cases of discrimination, harassment, abuse and assault as other industries, but the wealthy and powerful men of Wall Street don’t appear to suffer for their wrongdoing.

The New Yorker observes that “Finance is a male-dominated industry and the few women who manage to enter it, and to climb its ranks, often become the targets of the men who work there.” According to Renée-Eva Fassbender Amochaev, a broker who was represented by Lieff Cabraser in her lawsuit against Smith Barney for gender discrimination, “the way Wall Street firms resolve sexual harassment cases continues to protect perpetrators and firms. Large settlements are paid, but the men who either committed the bad behavior or who effectively condoned it, often remain.”

“No one gets fired,” added Amochaev. “Everyone on the inside knows the system is rigged. The bad behavior doesn’t become public. The end result remains a secret which ultimately perpetuates the problem.”

With so few women on Wall Street, there exists no appreciable public voice and instances of sexual predation are kept under wraps. In addition, women in the financial industry often ignore their employer’s wrongdoings and reprehensible behavior because they feel they have no other choice if they want to remain in that field with a good reputation.

Lisa Carnoy, who was ranked the fourth most-powerful woman on Wall Street in 2013 by American Banker, agrees. “Many of the women who do try to succeed in this world, including myself, are very driven and ambitious and are willing to put the terrible behavior to the side, to say ‘I want a long career and I am just going to ignore that or compartmentalize that.’”

“Wall Street is not held accountable,” Amochaev said. “There are never any meaningful consequences. The story has not really been told. It’s all a secret.”

Battling Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Lieff Cabraser has a strong tradition of fighting for employee rights across America. Our employment law class action cases challenge discrimination based on employees’ race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability; wage violations, including failure to pay overtime, break time, or vacation time; and misuse of employees’ retirement benefits. We also represent employees who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing by their employers as well as in other cases alleging violations of the law.