Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $215 million (£170.2m) to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit in the US, in which it was alleged to have offered women lower pay and fewer opportunities.
The class action case, which was due to go to trial next month, was centred around claims that the investment bank had a widespread and long-standing bias against women in pay and promotions.
The settlement, which is subject to court approval, covers approximately 2,800 female associates and vice-presidents employed in Goldman Sachs’ investment banking, investment management and securities divisions.
Goldman Sachs has also agreed to appoint an independent expert to examine its performance evaluation procedures and processes for promoting from vice-president to managing director.
An independent pay equity study will also be carried out, and the firm will investigate and act on areas where there is a gender pay gap. Vice-presidents will receive “enhanced” communication about career development and promotion criteria.
The bank will commit to carrying out these processes for three years.
Kelly Dermody, a lawyer at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, which represented the women, said the claimants believed the settlement “advances gender equity at Goldman”.
Jacqueline Arthur, Goldman Sachs global head of human capital management, said: “Goldman Sachs is proud of its long record of promoting and advancing women and remains committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace for all our people. After more than a decade of vigorous litigation, both parties have agreed to resolve this matter. We will continue to focus on our people, our clients, and our business.”
Workplace culture at Goldman Sachs has come under fire in the past few years. In 2021 CEO David Solomon described remote working as an “aberration” and pushed for staff to return to the office as soon as possible, while a group of junior bankers threatened to quit over long working hours. In response, the company put measures in place to address burnout.