As highlighted in a feature article in Fortune, after an extraordinary 17 years, a gender class action lawsuit against Goldman Sachs is finally headed for trial in New York. All 1,400-plus class members are women who worked for Goldman as associates or vice-presidents, bringing class claims for discrimination in performance pay and promotion, with the named plaintiffs also forwarding claims for retaliation, unlawful or constructive termination, and pregnancy discrimination.
Cristina Chen-Oster, a named plaintiff in the case, began her career at Goldman Sachs in 1997. When she started her job at the company, she produced impressive results and became a top salesperson; over time, however, she discovered serious flaws in the company culture – flaws that operated to her direct detriment. These included rampant issues of sexual harassment, humiliation, gender discrimination, and lesser pay and promotion as compared to male counterparts.
In 2005, Chen-Oster decided to leave her position at Goldman and file a federal complaint against the company over the harassment and discrimination she experienced while working there. Now, nearly two decades later, Chen-Oster is looking forward to her day in court.
“We knew at the beginning it would be a long haul—but I’m not sure I expected it to take this long,” noted Chen-Oster.
“A public trial here would certainly be a tipping point for Wall Street,” says Lieff Cabraser partner Anne Shaver, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case. “It will be a reckoning in an industry that uses every tactic available”—including mandatory arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements in severance contracts—”to keep these issues from ever seeing the light of day.”
It’s been a long, bitterly fought 17 years for Chen-Oster—but she’s already won some remarkable victories. After Goldman Sachs spent years trying to get the case thrown out in pretrial motions, a U.S. District Court judge in August set a trial date for Jun. 5, 2023. Last month, the judge also allowed the plaintiffs to release partially unredacted documents with a graphic level of detail about some of their specific allegations, including claims of criminal sexual assault and rape. These details, along with the class action’s sheer size and endurance, have already turned the case into an unusually public referendum on the financial industry, where claims of sexism and harassment are usually dealt with secretly—and where victims still often face steeper professional consequences than the accused.
The first trial date is scheduled for June 2023.
Read the full article on the Fortune website.
About the Goldman Sachs Gender Discrimination Lawsuit
Lieff Cabraser serves as Co-Lead Counsel with Outten & Golden for plaintiffs in a gender discrimination class action lawsuit against Goldman Sachs. The complaint alleges that Goldman Sachs has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against its female professional employees in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law.
The complaint charges that, among other things, Goldman Sachs pays its female professionals less than similarly situated males, disproportionately promotes men over equally or more qualified women, and offers better business opportunities and professional support to its male professionals.
For more detailed information and to contact a plaintiff attorney, please visit GoldmanGenderCase.com.
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