Women Accuse Goldman Sachs of Gender Discrimination, Report Says

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H. Cristina Chen-Oster, right, and Shana Orlich at their lawyers office, in New York, Sept. 15, 2010. Credit: Richard Perry / NYT

A class action suit is in the works against the Goldman Sachs investment bank for gender discrimination, Business Week reported, with accusations ranging from lower pay for female employees to an atmosphere hostile to women - an example of which is an alleged routine of taking clients to strip-clubs.

Two women who sued the firm for gender discrimination in 2010 have reportedly requested the court grant their suit class status, potentially opening the case up for thousands of women employed by GS since 2002.

Cristina Chen-Oster, a former GS vice president, and Shanna Orlich, a former associate, have reportedly constructed a dossier of testimonies and claims from other former employees of the firm, allegedly painting a grim picture of gender bias.

“In my experience, entertaining clients at strip clubs was considered routine for Goldman in the U.S.,” Katalin Tischhauser, who worked on the convertible bond desk in London, is cited by Business Week as writing in the dossier. She was cited as saying that during a business trip to New Orleans, her American colleagues took clients to a strip club, where they paid strippers to entertain them and their guests. In her complaint, she added that Goldman Sachs officially discouraged entertaining clients with visits to strip clubs since 2005, but said that unofficially, employees were encouraged to keep to the practice and simply stop putting it on the expense report, the article stated.

In another testimony, Lisa Albanese, a former vice president in the equities division, reportedly writes: “I believe that Goldman Sachs maintains a culture of bias against women. I have witnessed firsthand Goldman Sachs’ pervasive boys’ club culture. I also believe that having children has negatively affected my opportunities for advancement."

Chen-Oster added that she was sexually attacked by a co-worker at a staff dinner, and then discouraged from filing a complaint to human resources, according to Business Week. She reportedly claimed that years later, after returning from maternity leave, she was skipped over for good assignments in favor of her male colleagues.

Goldman Sachs has denied the women’s claims.