Inside Goldman Sachs' $12 Million Hush Payment: Lewd Jokes, Gender Discrimination, And More

Zinger Key Points
  • Goldman paid out over $12 million to a veteran executive who complained internally about a toxic workplace.
  • Earlier this year, JPMorgan Chase was sued by a female employee alleging gender discrimination.

It’s October 2018, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS just appointed David Solomon as CEO of the $130.8 billion company with $2.5 trillion of assets under management.

Since then, Solomon accomplished a lot: He reorganized the firm and set out to improve diversity among its ranks, urging the bank’s recruiters to make women at least 50% of new hires.

Goldman recently reported that its latest partnership class included a record number of women. But, the internal culture — and the $12 million hush payment it gave to a senior executive — tells a different, disturbing story.

Read also: Get Back To The Office! Wall Street Banks Setting Precedent For In-Person Work

What Happened: Around the same time Solomon joined Goldman and promoted diversity at the prominent Wall Street bank, Goldman paid out over $12 million to a female veteran executive who complained internally about a toxic workplace for women two years ago.

Solomon was named in the complaint as well.

The ex-partner described a leadership culture where men are treated better than women and are paid less. In order to demonstrate that the company gives women lesser compensation packages, the lawsuit included examples of pay inequalities.

And, there were more incidents of dismissive remarks by other managers, such as former head of investment research Steven Strongin, and a lewd joke from Solomon.

The CEO wasn't the target of the complaint, but it did go into detail about how he allegedly boasted to a group of male coworkers that he was probably the only one there who had oral sex the night before.

According to Bloomberg citing unnamed sources familiar with the lawsuit, male executives criticized the weight and necklines of the bank's female employees.

They claim that some bosses offered advice on how they could look better, including workout plans.

In one instance, men compared women to flight crews in a conference to discuss gender issues, urging senior-ranking women to bring coffee or perform other menial jobs.

In September, unsealed court filings revealed that numerous women who had previously worked at Goldman reported how they had experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination at the hands of male superiors.

Goldman Sachs isn't the only major bank under scrutiny for gender discrimination. Earlier this year, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM employee sued the firm, alleging that it favored male financial advisers and had a lack of accountability when it came to gender discrimination and harassment.

And in 2020, JPMorgan Chase paid almost $10 million to resolve allegations that it engaged in systemic compensation discrimination against female employees.

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