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Female workers sue banking firm Goldman Sachs over sex discrimination

By Abdul Nisar

London, Sept 17 (ANI): Three female executives have sued global investment banking firm Goldman Sachs over an alleged boys' club culture of sex discrimination.

Former vice president H.Cristina Chen-Oster, 39, former vice president Lisa Parisi, 48, and ex-associate Shanna Orlich, 30, who were paid up to 415,000 pounds a year, claim they were sidelined and forced out when they complained.

They claim in legal papers that women workers were taken to strip bars, and one boss hired 'female escorts' dressed in Santa hats as entertainment on a company holiday.

The lawsuit also said that racist internal emails were sent and women who went on maternity leave were stripped of responsibilities in what became "systematic and pervasive discrimination".

They also claim that they were promoted at a slower pace than men and earned as little as half what their male colleagues earned.

"This case challenges Goldman Sachs' practice of treating its talented female professionals like disposable, second-class citizens," the Daily Mail quoted Kelly Dermody, a lawyer for the trio, as saying.

"By coming forward, the plaintiffs are working to ensure a level playing field across Wall Street," Dermody said.

According to the court papers filed in New York, the trouble started when Chen-Oster reported an attempted sexual assault by a married male colleague in 1997.

She and other employees celebrating a male colleague's promotion-went to a topless bar in Manhattan called Scores as part of a Goldman-sponsored dinner.

At the end of the evening, a married male associate in her group insisted that he escort her to her boyfriend's apartment building a few blocks away.

In the hallway outside the apartment, the male colleague surprised her by pinning her against the wall, kissing her and groping her, and attempting to engage in a sexual act with her.

Chen-Oster did not invite or welcome the attempt, and had to physically defend herself, but after she reported the incident she was met with hostility and marginalized, and she later resigned.

The two other claimants also said that men were routinely given the 'most lucrative and promising opportunities and assignments'.

Orlich claims a male boss asked every man in the office to be his golf partner, but did not ask her even though she played the sport for her high school team.

"Goldman Sachs has intentionally implemented these company-wide policies and practices in order to pay their male employees more money than their female counterparts, and to promote them more frequently," the legal papers stated.

It is also said that racist emails were sent to Chen-Oster, who is of Chinese origin. We believe this suit is without merit. People are critical to our business, and we make extraordinary efforts to recruit, develop and retain outstanding women professionals," a Goldman spokesman said. (ANI)

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