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Goldman Women Pick Big Lawsuit Over Arbitration But Many Abstain

April 11, 2022, 10:32 PM

Hundreds of women who’ve worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. were given a choice: remain in one of Wall Street’s biggest gender discrimination lawsuits, or leave for the more secretive system of arbitration.

Almost everyone who’s responded wants to stay in court. But about half of the group didn’t respond at all, which means they’re leaving the lawsuit.

According to a court filing from the plaintiffs, 339 of the 349 women who responded chose to remain in the class-action lawsuit and reject arbitration. But the 344 women who didn’t respond won’t be members of a class that also includes more than 1,000 other Goldman women.

A spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

“We are gratified to see that close to 340 Goldman Sachs women, including many who work there today, came forward to support this case and request that they be among the 1,800 women in the certified class going to trial,” said Michael Levin-Gesundheit, a partner with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, which is representing plaintiffs in the lawsuit. He said the 693 women were working as associates or vice presidents in investment banking, securities or investment management around 2016 to 2018.

Lead plaintiff Cristina Chen-Oster, whose fight began in 2005, sued the bank five years later, and won class action status in 2018. This year, President Joe Biden signed a law ending forced arbitration of new claims of sexual assault and harassment, but the law doesn’t cover gender discrimination. Goldman had announced late last year that it wouldn’t stop sending employees who claim they were harassed into arbitration, while letting some of them waive the confidentiality of decisions.

The case is Chen-Oster v Goldman Sachs Group Inc., 10-cv-6950, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

--With assistance from Sridhar Natarajan and Paige Smith.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Max Abelson in New York at mabelson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Sally Bakewell at sbakewell1@bloomberg.net

Daniel Taub, Max Abelson

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.