A long-running class action lawsuit accused a Wall Street bank of discriminating against women.
Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $215 million to resolve a long-running gender discrimination complaint brought by former female employees who claimed male colleagues systematically underpaid and devalued them.
According to lawyers for the ladies, the two sides agreed to the settlement and will now forego a trial slated for next month in a federal court in New York. The money will be distributed to about 2,800 colleagues and vice presidents who took part in the class action, principally in the investment banking and securities sectors.
According to a person familiar with the specifics, roughly one-third of the revenues are expected to go towards legal bills for the plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs' lawyers said Goldman Sachs agreed to hire an outside expert "to conduct an additional analysis on performance evaluation processes" within the bank, as well as conduct "pay equity studies" as part of the agreement.
The original claimants, including former Goldman workers Cristina Chen-Oster and Shanna Orlich, sued Goldman in 2010 and obtained the right to lead a sex discrimination class-action lawsuit in 2018.
They accused Goldman of instituting company-wide policies and practises that resulted in better pay and advancement opportunities for its male employees, and they claimed that the bank's review process allowed managers, mostly men, to nominate people who contributed to employee appraisals, resulting in a "tap on the shoulder system."
“My goal in this case has always been to support strong women on Wall Street,” Allison Gamba, one of the plaintiffs, said following the settlement. “I am proud that the result we achieved here will advance gender equity.”
Outten & Golden lawyer Adam Klein, who represented the ladies, said the deal "provides meaningful relief to our clients."
Goldman's global head of human capital management, Jacqueline Arthur, stated that the bank is "proud of its long history of promoting and advancing women and remains committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace for all of our people."
The settlement, originally reported by Bloomberg, ends a long-running legal action involving Goldman, which highlighted Wall Street's inability to diversify the finance industry's workforce.
Another former Goldman employee, Jamie Fiore Higgins, published a memoir about her 17 years at the bank last year, alleging bullying, harassment, and deception.
Goldman's CEO, David Solomon, has publicly stated his desire to diversify the bank's personnel and has released a set of hiring goals for 2019. Last year, in the group's biennial selection procedure for elite partner status, 29 percent of the personnel chosen were women, a record high.
If the settlement is approved by the New York court hearing the lawsuit, a third-party administrator will distribute settlement funds "based on an objective formula" among class members, according to plaintiffs' lawyers.
By fLEXI tEAM