Back in 2010, former Goldman Sachs vice president Cristina Chen-Oster and former Goldman associate Shanna Orlich filed a lawsuit against the billion dollar banking firm claiming widespread gender discrimination. Among other things, they called it "a ‘boy’s club’ atmosphere, where binge drinking is common and women are either sexualized or ignored." And this week, Chen-Oster and Orlich announced that they are seeking class action status for their lawsuit.
The two women petitioned a Manhattan judge asking for the right to broaden their lawsuit to represent at least 1,762 female associates and vice-presidents at the firm since 2002. They say they have statements by "former Goldman employees, expert statistical analyses and evidence of earnings and promotions from the firm's records to support their claims." Goldman sounded very unimpressed with the development: "This is a normal and anticipated procedural step for any proposed class action lawsuit and does not change the case’s lack of merit," David Wells, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, told Bloomberg.
In the original suit, Chen-Oster and Orlich alleged that the company paid female vice presidents up to 21 percent less and female associates 8 percent less than male counterparts; women were promoted more slowly and reluctantly than men; and it was a generally hostile environment for women, where strip clubs were a frequent location for client meals.
In addition, Chen-Oster says she was sexually assaulted by a male coworker at a staff dinner in 1997 and then discouraged from reporting it to human resources. "If Goldman Sachs were a better place for women to work and I thought that I would not be treated differently from men, I would seek a career there," she wrote in the suit.