A number of former female employees at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) filed court documents Tuesday supporting the certification of a gender discrimination case against the Wall Street firm as a class-action lawsuit, in which they say Goldman operates like a “boys’ club” and maintains a corporate culture that is "hostile to women."
Goldman’s male employees routinely entertained clients at strip clubs, characterized female employees as “bimbos,” excluded their female co-workers from golf outings and after-hours drinking and denied women promotions in favor of men who were less deserving of the positions, the female plaintiffs claim.
Goldman Sachs didn't directly comment on the allegations in a statement sent to International Business Times, but the firm called the filings "a normal and anticipated procedural step for any proposed class action lawsuit and does not change the case’s lack of merit.”
Here are seven of the most damning claims revealed in the documents:
1) A woman was punished for reporting an alleged sexual assault by a male co-worker
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“I was afraid to report the assault to management due to fear that I would be retaliated against for speaking up,” former Goldman vice president H. Cristina Chen-Oster, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said. “I finally reported the assault because I felt uncomfortable working with the man who had assaulted me and wanted to work in another office. After I reported the sexual assault to my supervisor, I began to experience increased hostility and marginalization at work. Soon after I reported the incident, existing job duties and responsibilities were taken away from me. My desk was moved to the seat farthest from senior management, near empty chairs. This signified a demotion and restricted me from cultivating important relationships.”
2) Goldman hired beautiful women but mocked their intelligence
“More than 20 times, I heard male traders at Goldman Sachs say the female associates and vice presidents were hired for sales for their attractiveness and not their intelligence, and these women were ‘bimbos,’” Denise Shelley, a former Goldman vice president, said. “I remember a particular instance when Goldman Sachs hired a woman, a beauty pageant winner, and the whole trading floor was laughing about her under the assumption that she was not very intelligent. I believe she was an Ivy League graduate.”
3) Goldman paid women less because they didn’t consider them “heads of household”
“In my experience, Goldman Sachs maintains a culture where gender stereotypes are prevalent,” Lisa Parisi, a former Goldman managing director, said. “For example, if male employees have children they are considered heads of households who deserve higher pay. On the other hand, female employees are not considered heads of household and therefore are not considered to deserve comparable pay.”
4) Escorts were hired for a holiday party
“In my experience, Goldman Sachs maintains a culture that is hostile to women,” ex-Goldman associate Shanna Orlich, said. “For instance, in December 2007, a male managing director hired female escorts to attend my group’s holiday party. The escorts arrived wearing short black shirts, strapless tops, and Santa hats, and socialized with male guests during the event.”
5) Women were worried that becoming pregnant would threaten their chances at a promotion
“In 2007, my manager, a male managing director, informed me that I would be nominated for promotion, but volunteered that I should adopt instead of becoming pregnant,” Goldman vice president Allison Gamba claims. “I had never discussed with him or any of my co-workers at that time even the possibility of having children.”
6) Male Goldman Sachs employees took clients to strip clubs
“I was aware that in certain instances my male colleagues at Goldman Sachs took their clients to strip clubs as part of the process of luring business,” Parisi, a former Goldman managing director, said.
7) Women weren’t take seriously when socializing at bars and clubs after work hours
“…[A] male managing director began referring to me as a ‘party girl’ in front of other colleagues,” Parisi added. “Other men did not receive this kind of treatment, and I found it embarrassing and detrimental to my profession reputation.”