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A Lawsuit Peeks Inside the Goldman Sachs 'Boys' Club'

Chen-Oster (right) and Orlich in 2010
Chen-Oster (right) and Orlich in 2010Photograph by Richard Perry/The New York Times via Redux

Two women suing investment bank Goldman Sachs for gender discrimination filed papers on Tuesday in federal court requesting class status. The move, if granted, would allow them to press their case on behalf of all female associates and vice presidents in investment banking and securities divisions who worked at the firm since 2002, potentially opening the case up to thousands of women. In the process, the women are taking aim at the entire culture of Wall Street.

Cristina Chen-Oster, a former Goldman vice president, and Shanna Orlich, a former associate, filed suit against the company in 2010, accusing it of discrimination against female employees in areas from compensation to work assignments and advancement. They alleged that the company routinely paid female employees up to 21 percent less than their male counterparts; that women were promoted more slowly and more reluctantly than men; and that the environment was generally hostile to women. Not surprisingly, strip clubs are mentioned multiple times. The women and their attorneys spent four years gathering evidence in a rather devastating dossier if their findings are taken at face value.