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EPLI on Wall Street: The Goldman Sachs Gender Lawsuit

28. July 2014 08:30

man with a head start racing a woman

Two former Goldman Sachs employees are suing the investment bank for gender discrimination. And according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Cristina Chen-Oster and Shanna Orlich have recently filed papers requesting class status. If granted, Goldman Sachs won’t have just one employment lawsuit on its hands, but the cases of thousands of women.

Many people aren’t surprised by the women’s “boy’s club” allegations. This isn’t the first time a major financial institution has come under scrutiny for workplace discrimination charges. But just because behavior is common doesn’t mean it’s legal.

Goldman Sachs denies the allegations. But even if a judge determines that the company did nothing wrong, the lawsuit is still going to cost them money.

What Are the Grounds for a Gender Discrimination Case?

In the United States, there are laws that protect certain groups of employees from workplace discrimination. Under these laws, women can’t be treated differently from their male counterparts simply for being women. (Check out “Employment Discrimination Lawsuits: Case Studies” for more real-world examples.)

But what are the telltale signs of gender discrimination? Take a look:

Someone might argue that some of these situations seem hard to prove. For instance, a woman might think she was unfairly passed up for a promotion when really her boss chose a more qualified candidate.

Problems arise when employers cannot support their decisions and when evidence suggests that the only difference between one employee and a promoted employee is gender. Goldman Sachs’s promotion decisions appear opaque to employees. And unless the company has documented proof to substantiate the slow advancement of its female employees, it could be found guilty of gender discrimination.

What Can Small Businesses Do to Avoid Gender Discrimination Lawsuits?

Discrimination lawsuits are not just an issue for big businesses. Even the smallest employers can be accused of gender discrimination. That’s why it’s important for small-business owners to…

For more tips, read “How Small-Business Owners Can Prevent Employee Discrimination Lawsuits.”

Keep in mind that employees can sue you for discrimination even when you’ve taken preventative measures to avoid such claims. That’s why small businesses often carry Employment Practices Liability Insurance. This insurance policy covers the expenses of an employment discrimination lawsuit, including lawyer fees, judgments, and settlements.

know your business risks

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EPLI | Risk Management | Small Business Risk Management | Tips for All Small Businesses

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