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Goldman Sachs Employee Sues Bank Over Alleged Race Discrimination

An arrow showing the alleged direction of racial acceptance at Goldman.
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An arrow showing the alleged direction of racial acceptance at Goldman. Chris Hondros/Getty Images

A wealth manager at Goldman Sachs has accused the bank and a senior partner there of racial discrimination directed against her because she's black and Jewish, and has filed a lawsuit against the company because of it.

Rebecca Allen, a wealth manager in the bank's Private Wealth Management Division, claims that a partner in Goldman's Investment Banking Division named Christina Minnis suddenly removed her from dealing with a potential client in November 2016. When Allen's supervisor, Corey Jassem, told Allen he would look into it, he came back and "told Ms. Allen that Ms. Minnis had made numerous racist comments, as well as anti-Semitic comments during his meeting with her, suggesting that Ms. Allen had been removed from the relationship because she is Black and Jewish" according to the suit.

Despite telling Allen this, Allen claims that Jassem decided not to go to HR after saying he would, possibly because Minnis is a partner at the bank. Allen also alleges that when she confronted Jassem about not going to HR, he changed his story about the meeting with Minnis, telling Allen that Minnis "only made anti-Semitic comments and not the other 'racist' comments" he originally reported. When Allen reminded Jassem she was also Jewish, he allegedly told her that she was being "hypersensitive."

Allen's suit claims she's been routinely asked questions "clearly designed" with the aim of determining "how Jewish" she really is, since she's also black.

In the suit, Allen says getting removed from the account cost her $300,000 per year in compensation. The suit also claims that Goldman Sachs has a culture of racial discrimination, saying that there's only one black employee on Goldman's Management Committee, only one black Executive Officer and only one black person on the bank's Board of Directors.

"It is inconceivable that Goldman Sachs holds itself out as being a diverse employer when its 32-person management team includes only one Black employee," Allen's attorneys, Michael Willemin and Douglas Wigdor of Wigdor L.L.P. said in a statement. Wigdor L.L.P. is the same law firm that's represented numerous employees in discrimination cases against Fox News.

Willemin and Wigdor also predicted that other black employees will come forward and "expose what is really happening behind the closed doors with regard to the denial of opportunity for entrance and advancement for qualified Black individuals."

In addition to monetary damages, the suit asks the court for an order to "place Ms. Allen in the position she would have occupied but for Defendants’ discriminatory and otherwise unlawful treatment of her."

Willemin and Wigdor told Gothamist that specific request means "asking a jury to compel Goldman Sachs to treat Ms. Allen and all of the Bank’s black employees fairly. That means compensating black employees at the same level as white counterparts and permitting black employees to pursue business without putting up discriminatory barriers."

Goldman is fighting the suit. "We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously contest it," a Goldman Sachs spokesperson told Gothamist. "Our success depends on our ability to maintain a diverse employee base and we are focused on recruiting, retaining and promoting diverse professionals at all levels."

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