On May 8, 2023, the parties announced that Plaintiffs have reached an agreement with Defendants Goldman Sachs & Company LLC and The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (collectively, “Goldman Sachs”), in which Goldman Sachs will pay $215 million to settle a gender discrimination class action lawsuit, Chen-Oster v. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, No. 10-cv-6950-AT-RWL, pending since 2010. The settlement covers approximately 2,800 female Associates and Vice-Presidents employed in the Investment Banking, Investment Management, or Securities Divisions, as described below.
In addition, for three years, the Settlement, among other things, (1) provides that Goldman Sachs will engage an independent expert to conduct an additional analysis on performance evaluation processes, as well as its process for promotion from Vice-President to Managing Director, to ensure they generate accurate, reliable, and non-biased outcomes; (2) requires that an independent expert will conduct additional pay equity studies and that Goldman Sachs will investigate and where appropriate address any gender pay gaps; and (3) enhances select communications to Vice-Presidents regarding career development and promotion criteria. While this is a three-year commitment, Goldman Sachs independently will continue such reviews periodically as it has in the past.
Background: On September 10, 2010, plaintiffs filed the initial complaint asserting claims for classwide gender discrimination in pay, performance evaluation, and promotion under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the New York City Human Rights Law. On March 30, 2018, Judge Analisa Torres, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, certified the case as a class action. Trial was set to begin on June 7, 2023.
Plaintiffs: The Named Plaintiffs are Cristina Chen-Oster, Shanna Orlich, Allison Gamba, and Mary De Luis. All of the Plaintiffs are women who worked for Goldman Sachs as an Associate and/or Vice-President in the United States in the Investment Banking, Investment Management, or Securities Divisions.
Settlement Class Participation: Class settlement benefits are available to all women who held a revenue-producing Associate or Vice President position at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking, Investment Management, or Securities Divisions in New York at any time from July 7, 2002 to March 28, 2023 or elsewhere in the United States at any time from September 10, 2004 through March 28, 2023, and who: (1) in the performance evaluation group: (a) were subject to Goldman Sachs’s performance review process, known as the 360 Review, or (b) were subject to Goldman Sachs’s comparative performance ranking process, known as Manager Quartiling; and/or (2) in the promotion group, were in a Vice President position.
Next Steps: The court will set a hearing date for preliminary settlement approval, which if approved will result in the third-party administrator issuing notice to the class members. If the court later grants final settlement approval, the third-party administrator will allocate settlement amounts based on an objective formula to each qualifying class member. More information is available at the website: www.goldmangendersettlement.com
Statements on the Settlement:
“As one of the original plaintiffs, I have been proud to support this case without hesitation over the last nearly thirteen years and believe this settlement will help the women I had in mind when I filed the case,” said Plaintiff Shanna Orlich.
“My goal in this case has always been to support strong women on Wall Street,” said Plaintiff Allison Gamba. “I am proud that the result we achieved here will advance gender equity.”
Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Kelly Dermody stated, “Plaintiffs believe this settlement provides substantial, certain recoveries for all Class members and advances gender equity at Goldman.” Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Adam Klein stated, “we are all delighted to support a robust settlement that offers meaningful relief to our clients and look forward to court approval.”
“Goldman Sachs is proud of its long record of promoting and advancing women and remains committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace for all our people. After more than a decade of vigorous litigation, both parties have agreed to resolve this matter. We will continue to focus on our people, our clients, and our business,” said Jacqueline Arthur, Goldman Sachs Global Head of Human Capital Management.
Information about Plaintiffs’ Counsel:
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP: Lieff Cabraser is one of the country’s largest and most successful firms exclusively representing plaintiffs in civil litigation, having secured verdicts or settlements worth over $127 billion for clients nationwide. With 120 attorneys, the firm has led some of the most significant litigation of the last decade, including the VW clean diesel emissions case, which resulted in over $15 billion for VW owners (In re: Volkswagen ‘Clean Diesel’ Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2672); the Google gender pay equity litigation that resulted in $118 million settlement for women at Google (Ellis v. Google LLC, No. CGC-17-561299); and the high-tech cold-calling wage conspiracy case alleging an agreement among prominent technology companies to not poach each other’s employees, which resulted in settlements totaling $435 million (In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, 11-cv-2509-LJK). Partner Kelly Dermody, co-lead counsel here, led Google and High-Tech for her firm. She is the Immediate Past Chair of the Section of Labor and Employment Law of the American Bar Association, and Managing Partner of the San Francisco Office of Lieff Cabraser.
Outten & Golden LLP: Outten & Golden LLP focuses on both advising and representing individuals in employment, partnership, and related workplace matters, both domestically and internationally, and in class action litigation. It represents employees with a wide variety of claims, including equal pay and promotion, discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, disability, national origin, religion, and age, as well as retaliation, whistleblower, and contract claims. The firm prosecutes class actions in courts around the country involving a wide range of employment issues, including economic exploitation, statutory discrimination and pay equity cases, wage-and-hour violations, veterans rights, and other systemic workers’ rights issues. The Firm has successfully prosecuted pay discrimination and unequal pay cases against Bank of America, Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney, JPMorgan Chase, Uber, Google, and Syracuse University, among others. Adam T. Klein is the firm’s Managing Partner, Chair of its Class Action Practice, and former chair of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Cara E. Greene is co-chair of the firm’s Equal Pay Practice, and former chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. The firm has offices in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
For more information, visit GoldmanGenderCase.com.