A Black staffer in Goldman Sachs’ personal wealth management division is suing the mega bank and one of its managers, claiming she was discriminated against because of her race.
The lawsuit, filed by private wealth-management VP Rebecca Allen on Wednesday, Aug. 16, accuses the firm of steering top-level clients to white employees and passing her up for job promotions. Goldman’s mostly white senior staff favors white bankers for such promotions and well-paying accounts, Allen claimed, putting them at an advantage to earn more than Black co-workers.
“Simply put, Goldman Sachs does virtually nothing to hire, promote and/or develop Black talent, instead focusing its efforts on retaining and promoting white employees to positions of leadership,” the staffer said in her complaint.
Allen, who is both Black and Jewish, went on to claim that the bank’s few Black employees are marginalized and subjected to differential treatment when it comes to pay, promotions and opportunities to build client relationships and earn commissions. She added that she’s never had the chance to “steer” unsolicited clients who come into the bank, which stymied her earning potential and chances for future promotions.
The firm responded to the claims in a statement, flatly refuting them.
“We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously contest it,” spokeswoman Leslie Shribman said in an emailed statement. “Our success depends on our ability to maintain a diverse employee base, and we’re focused on recruiting, retaining and promoting diverse professionals at all levels.”
In her complaint, Allen also alleged that Goldman partner Christina Minnis removed her from a project she’d been working on for the past three years. She said her supervisor, Cory Jassem, met with Minnis to discuss the decision, during which he made racist and anti-Semitic comments about her.
In a statement, Allen’s lawyers at New York City law firm Wigdor, LLP said they were confident that the suit would prompt other Black employees to come forward with similar complaints.
“It is inconceivable that Goldman Sachs holds itself out as being a diverse employer when its 32-person management team includes only one Black employee,” lawyers wrote. “We can expose what’s really happening behind closed doors with regard to the denial of opportunity for entrance and advancement for qualified Black individuals.”