By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) -A U.S. federal judge on Monday rejected Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s bid to dismiss most of a 12-year-old class action alleging widespread bias against women in pay and promotions, and said the case will finally go to trial next June.
U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan disagreed with Goldman’s argument that the class of about 1,800 plaintiffs should be decertified because there was no proof that each member had lost pay and thus had standing to seek damages.
The judge narrowed the damages class to include female vice presidents and associates employed at various times since 2002 in Goldman’s investment banking, investment management and securities divisions, and exclude those not employed long enough or who did not suffer reduced compensation.
Torres also refused to let Goldman appeal her March ruling allowing the plaintiffs to sue as a group because the Wall Street bank had subjected them to the same employment policies. She set a June 5, 2023 trial date.
The plaintiffs accused Goldman of systematically paying women less than men, and giving women weaker performance reviews that impeded their career growth.
Their lawsuit is among the highest-profile cases targeting Wall Street’s alleged unequal treatment of women, including in litigation against many banks that stretches back decades.
Goldman has denied wrongdoing, and called the plaintiffs’ statistical evidence oversimplified and misleading.
In a statement, the bank said: “Goldman Sachs is proud of its long record of promoting and supporting women, and we look forward to vigorously defending ourself against these baseless claims.”
Anne Shaver, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said her clients looked forward to the trial, and were pleased the judge rejected Goldman’s attempt to “evade answering for its decades-long pattern and practice of gender discrimination.”
The plaintiffs are led by Cristina Chen-Oster, Mary De Luis and Allison Gamba, who were Goldman vice presidents, and Shanna Orlich, who was an associate.
The case is Chen-Oster et al v. Goldman Sachs & Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-06950.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Chizu Nomiyama)