Goldman Sachs can’t put sexism claims in rearview mirror

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By Dan Sears

Goldman Sachs’ legal troubles with women who have worked for the Wall Street giant over the firm’s alleged history of sexism may not be over.

The bank will soon cut checks to 2,800 former and current female staffers as part of a $215 million class-action settlement over accusations Goldman systematically underpaid and under-promoted women in its US banking, investment management and securities divisions in favor of their male peers.

The settlement doesn’t include any women outside of those divisions, leading people close to the bank to speculate that Goldman, led by CEO David Solomon, may find itself back in court.

“Sexism hasn’t gotten better,” one female employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity told On The Money. “Look at the departures — all the female leaders are gone.”

Those that have left as part of an exodus of senior executives include Katie Koch, the former chief investment officer of public equity at asset management; Jo Natauri, head of healthcare investing; Margaret Anadu, former head of sustainability and impact; Heather Miner, chief operating officer of asset management; Stephanie Cohen, global head of platform solutions; Lisa Opoku, global head of the Family Office; and Dina Powell, former head of the sovereign wealth business.

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Goldman has also lost a slew of male executives recently including Jeff Currie, global head of commodities research; Julian Salisbury, chief investment officer of asset and wealth management; and Luke Sarsfield, co-head of asset management.

None of the women have accused the company of any wrongdoing.

Some of the plaintiffs in the class-action Goldman Sachs suit can expect six-figure payouts.
Some of the plaintiffs in the class-action Goldman Sachs suit can expect six-figure payouts.
Paola Morrongiello/NYPost

However, there are thousands of other Goldman staffers and alums who could potentially be motivated to bring litigation now that the bank agreed to settle the class-action suit.

“Once someone has successfully filed this kind of suit, it is much easier to file another case,” a source close to the bank told On The Money. “The law firm is also likely to be much more willing to take a case if they’ve won before.”

To be sure, that doesn’t mean there will be a lawsuit.

Goldman has spent millions on initiatives geared toward women inside and outside the firm in recent years.

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Those include grants to their “10000 Women” and “One Million Black Women” programs, which both support and educate women launching businesses.

“Goldman Sachs is proud of its long record of promoting and advancing women and remains committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace for all our people,” a spokesperson for the bank told On The Money, reiterating a previous statement from head of human capital management Jacqueline Arthur after the settlement.

“After more than a decade of vigorous litigation, both parties have agreed to resolve this matter. We will continue to focus on our people, our clients, and our business.”

Anyone who receives a check as part of the accord will be prevented from filing a similar suit against Goldman.

“It is not uncommon for a settlement agreement to bar similar litigation on related grounds by the class members,” Columbia Law Professor John Coffee explained. “The defendants do not want to see you suing them again for continuing discrimination.”

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Earlier this summer, the plaintiffs in the class-action suit were told how much money they would receive.

Some can expect six-figure payouts, others will get smaller amounts, according to sources.

The lawyers will take their third, about $72 million, according to filings.

The motion for final approval is slated for Aug. 29 and the checks will be sent after the final hearing on Oct. 3.

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