The settlement represents the largest gender employment case settled before a plaintiffs’ verdict at trial, and one of the largest of any type of employment dispute
As reported by Law360 (subscription) and other media outlets, on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres granted final approval to a proposed $215 million settlement in a sex bias/gender discrimination case against Goldman Sachs dating back to 2010. The $215 million settlement, reached just a month before a trial was slated to begin this past summer, covers nearly 3,000 female associates and vice presidents who were allegedly disadvantaged by the investment bank’s biased evaluation metrics since 2002.
Lieff Cabraser San Francisco office Managing Partner Kelly M. Dermody, who co-represents the plaintiffs in the suit, commented that this is “truly an historic settlement, the largest of its kind in a gender employment case settled before trial.” Ms. Dermody told Law360 after the ruling, “We appreciate the court’s careful consideration and approval of this historic settlement.”
The plaintiffs were enthusiastic in their praise for Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel’s efforts on their behalf (the quotes are anonymized below):
“I have supported [named plaintiff Cristina Chen-Oster] since day 1 of this case. This settlement is important for the lead plaintiffs but also gives recognition of what we all endured. . . . Thank you for the resiliency to see this to the end.”
“I was so pleased to see this outcome. A tremendous victory!”
“I am so appreciative of the work done by your firm and the women who brought this case forward.”
“[T]hanks for all the work done on the Goldman class action. . . . I believe this case will advance gender equity going forward.”
“All I can say is thanks to you and all of your colleagues for your commitment to seeing through the case and resolving this matter on a high note. . . . I’ve tried to follow the case along as much as possible and sadly many of troublesome things you uncovered were not a surprise to me. This resolution helps to put me more at ease with the inequalities I’ve experienced and provide the conviction to continue to fight the good fight.”
“Congratulations on getting this across the finish line! I can’t imagine how much work went into it. Lots of plaintiffs appreciate your work. :)”
“Thank you! Great work for us. It is so important.”
“Congratulations to the firm for such a titanic accomplishment.”
“Thank you for the confirmation and for all you team’s amazing work on this historic and important case.”
“Such a historic settlement.”
“Congratulation on the achievement. Thank you and Ms. Chen for the time and effort in helping moving this issue in the right direction. . . . Without proper help from a law firm we would never be properly compensated for the career damage.”
The lawsuit alleged that Goldman Sachs’ two main evaluation metrics — known as 360 review and quartiling — appeared gender-neutral at first glance but actually systematically placed women in lower rankings than men.
In addition to the $215 million monetary payment, Goldman Sachs agreed to modify its evaluation and promotion practices as part of the settlement. The bank will also bring in an outside labor economist to ensure that pay gaps do not persist going forward.
Learn more about the Goldman Sachs gender discrimination class action lawsuit.
About Kelly M. Dermody
The Managing Partner of Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office, Kelly M. Dermody specializes in class and collective actions on behalf of plaintiffs in civil rights, employment, and consumer cases, including gender discrimination cases against Google and Goldman Sachs. Kelly was also named a 2023 Law360 MVP in the category of Class Action and Employment Law. Additional case work includes wage suppression claims against technology, healthcare, and academic institutions; overtime and lost pay lawsuits for low-wage workers, I/T professionals, and foreign nationals working for American corporations; and ERISA claims that she has tried on behalf of employees and retirees for pension plan abuses.
Kelly also leads Lieff Cabraser’s representation of women who allege their ovarian and uterine cancer was caused by long-term use of dangerous hair relaxer products. In 2020, Kelly led the team that successfully challenged the Trump Administration’s improper withholding of CARES Act stimulus funds from incarcerated Americans, leading to the release and distribution of $1.5 billion in stimulus funds, in what may be the single largest recovery for a targeted class from a single lawsuit in history.