Working At Goldman Sachs Is a Sexist Nightmare, Lawsuit Alleges

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Female former Goldman Sachs employees that sued the behemoth financial institution in 2010 are now seeking class action status, claiming that Goldman treats its female employees like second-class citizens as a matter of course. Color me shocked.


According to Buzzfeed's Matthew Zeitlin, in a filing on Tuesday, two of the women who originally filed suit against Goldman claimed that the firm enacts policies that are objectively hostile to women and that set them up to earn less and ascend company ranks more slowly than their male counterparts. Further, the filing claims that Goldman promotes "a 'boys' club' atmosphere; the sexualization of women and an uncorrected culture of sexual harassment and assault."

Among the anecdotes featured in the original filing are the following alleged instances of rampant fuckery:

  • An experienced trader who had to work her way up the ladder only to witness men with little experience being promoted above her.
  • A woman who was "groped and forcibly kissed" in the hallway outside of her boyfriend's apartment after a married male colleague insisted on walking her home from the strip club Scores, the site of a company party;
  • An "avid golfer" who wasn't invited to company golf outings because she's a woman;
  • In-office push up contests;
  • A woman who went out with male coworkers once only to be referred to as a "party girl" in perpetuity;
  • In-office conversations between male Goldman employees that imply women ("bimbos") were only hired due to their attractiveness;
  • A current trader at Goldman who says she's paid millions less than men in similar places in their careers.

The lawsuit, if granted class action status, will involve women who worked for Goldman in any city from 2004 to the present or in New York City from July 2002 to the present, a total of more than 1,700 people.

As a former employee of a financial institution that lost big in a lawsuit that alleged sexism, I can't say any of this surprises me. Many of my male stockbroker coworkers at Merrill Lynch (and later Bank of America) were honest, hard working dudes. I still have a card one of my male coworkers hand wrote for me after my grandfather died. But that doesn't mean that little pockets of rotten didn't poison the whole experience and remind me, constantly and subtly, that men ran the show. Once, at 1 am on a Wednesday, my phone vibrated by my bed, and on the other end of the line were a small groups of male coworkers who were out at that one strip club over by North and Clybourn, you know the one, Erin, you can literally just walk up to North Avenue and take the bus over here come on Erin we know where you live! Or how one summer, company after work drinks paid for by a corporate credit card would seamlessly transition to nights out at a club featuring scantily clad female dancers on elevated platforms, to nights that didn't end until 2 or 3 in the morning. When advancement hinges on socializing properly, and socializing properly means frequenting golf courses, strip clubs, and steak houses where the owner gladhands with your boss but gives you the stinkeye, there's a systemic problem.

And when advancement hinges on smiling pleasantly in the face of a coworker who pinned you against the wall and kissed you outside of your boyfriend's apartment, that's a lawsuit.



I'm shocked, I tell you. SHOCKED.

I'm glad that they're taking legal action against Goldman, though. Sometimes, it's easy to write this off as "paying your dues" (i.e. "well you sold your soul away willingly and are earning a lot of money, so the trade-off is shitty coworkers and a bad atmosphere"), but like it or not, if this is how women are treated at the most lucrative companies in this country, it's not boding well for those of us who are further down the paycheck ladder.