Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Thursday won a U.S. court order allowing it to send a former employee's gender discrimination dispute to arbitration, rather than being forced to defend against her claims in a class action.

In ruling for Goldman, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a lower court's 2011 ruling denying the Wall Street bank's motion to compel arbitration in the case of Lisa Parisi, a former managing director.

The case has been closely watched by employers seeking to avoid costly class action lawsuits and instead require individuals to pursue cases alone in private arbitrations.

"We see no reason to deviate from the liberal federal policy in favor of arbitration and conclude that the district court erred in denying the motion to compel arbitration," Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote for the three-judge panel.

Parisi and two other former Goldman employees sued the bank in 2010, accusing it of a pattern of discrimination against female managing directors, vice presidents and associates.

Paul Bland, a lawyer for Parisi, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Goldman spokesman had no immediate comment.

The case is Parisi v. Goldman Sachs & Co, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-5229.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Additional reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)