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Goldman Sachs: Sex Discrimination Practices At The Bank Are A Lot More Nuanced Than Ex-Employees Are Making Them Out To Be

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Goldman commissioned its own study re: certain allegations of gender discrimination and the results show there's a lot that went over Cristina Chen-Oster and Shanna Orlich's heads.

Cristina Chen-Oster, a former vice president at the firm, and Shanna Orlich, a former associate, together have accused Goldman of fostering a "boys' club" atmosphere where work-related events were held at strip clubs. The women are seeking class certification and monetary damages for claims that Goldman consistently under-paid women executives and gave them lower performance-review marks. "The pattern is consistent and clear," said plaintiffs' attorney Kelly Dermody at the court hearing in the Southern District of New York in downtown Manhattan. She cited a statistical analysis done by Henry Farber, a Princeton University economics professor, which found that female vice presidents at Goldman on average earned salaries 21 percent below their male counterparts, while women associates earned 8 percent less. Farber's research, commissioned by the plaintiffs, also claimed to show gender discrimination in evaluations and promotions.

Goldman Sachs' attorney Robert Giuffra took issue with Farber's findings and called the accusations "baseless" and "unfair." He told Magistrate Judge James Francis the numbers presented by the plaintiffs "reflect a really flawed, overly simplistic model." Goldman contends Farber and the plaintiffs are conflating the company's investment bank, investment management and securities divisions, even though each unit has many sub-divisions with widely different responsibilities and salaries. The bank cited its own expert, Michael Ward from Welch Consulting in California, who found no consistent pattern of disparities based on gender when the different units were taken into account...Chen-Oster alleged in the original complaint that she was marginalized at the firm after reporting an incident in which she faced unwanted and aggressive sexual advances from a male colleague following a night of drinking at a topless bar. The company then promoted the male employee, while Chen-Oster's career stagnated, according to the complaint.

U.S. Court hears arguments on sex discrimination at Goldman Sachs [Reuters]