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Cristina Chen-Oster.

Cristina Chen-Oster.

Photographer: Molly Cranna for Bloomberg Businessweek

Businessweek
Equality

To Sue Goldman Sachs, You Have to Be Willing to Hang On—For a Long, Long Time

Cristina Chen-Oster’s fight against sex discrimination began in 2005. She just got her big break.

Cristina Chen-Oster was settling into her seat for a late-March Broadway matinee of Mean Girls when she remembered to check her voicemail. The day before, she’d ignored a call from an unrecognized number. Now she hit play and heard the voice of her lawyer, Kelly Dermody: “Huge congratulations!” it said. “Really, really, really, really happy for you.”

Dermody was relaying news that Chen-Oster, a former vice president at Goldman Sachs, had been awaiting for years. A federal judge in New York had ruled that she and three other women who claim there’s systematic gender discrimination at Goldman can now represent as many as 2,300 other current and former employees. Chen-Oster read through the decision right there in the theater, where she was celebrating her 47th birthday with her family. “It was wonderful to see my wish come true,” she texted Dermody.