Four years ago, a former Goldman Sachs & Co. executive and two of her former colleagues sued the firm, alleging sex discrimination and asking to be certified as a class.
Today, the women filed documents that added to an extensive dossier of allegations. Among the filings was a request that a judge in the Federal district court in Manhattan allow H. Christina Chen-Oster and her co-plaintiffs to proceed in their suit as a class representing a class of women who work — or worked — at the bank.
I wrote about the latest round of filings for TheStreet Foundation today. You can read my column here, but here are a few highlights:
There are the strip clubs. The guys who organize departmental golf games and don’t invite the women. The liberal use of the word “bimbo” to describe Goldman women, many of whom graduate from the same Ivy League schools the men do. And, of course, the very discouraging numbers about pay and promotion. But the biggest deal about Chen-Oster’s brief filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York court July 1 seeking class action status is the redactions. Because even when women and their lawyers fight bitter battles to get their hands on important documents that expose discrimination, companies always seem to find a way to keep the public from hearing about the worst stuff.
Brokerage firms put an immeasurable amount of energy into making sure the public never sees the real numbers on women, promotions, and compensation. And they get apoplectic at the idea that the public might read allegations like that of former Goldman employee Shanna Orlich, who says she went to a holiday party in 2007 where a male managing director had hired women clad in “short black skirts, strapless tops, and Santa hats” to mingle with the Goldman men.
And yet, somehow, what started as a cluster of professional women at Goldman has mushroomed into a very important case.
Still, there’s much we don’t know. Take a look at the latest filing and scroll through to see the thick black lines that keep you from hearing the whole story.