Former top Goldman Sachs executives Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn can be deposed in a gender discrimination lawsuit accusing the Wall Street firm of tolerating a “Boy’s Club” atmosphere, a New York federal judge ruled Tuesday.
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The ruling on the pretrial depositions came at the end of a telephone conference in the long-running case.
“What they knew is important because, as the plaintiffs point out, the buck stops there,” Manhattan Federal Court Magistrate Judge Robert Lehrburger said, according to Bloomberg News.
Blankfein was Goldman CEO for 12 years, and Cohn was Goldman president for 10 years.
Cohn left Goldman to serve as President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser and held that position until his resignation two years ago.
Lehrburger put on hold a decision on whether the female plaintiffs should be allowed to take the pretrial deposition of Goldman’s current chairman and CEO, David Solomon, Bloomberg reported
A request for comment from Goldman was not immediately returned.
The 2010 lawsuit claims Goldman made biased compensation decisions and denied women opportunities they had earned, according to Bloomberg.
The four name plaintiffs alleged in the complaint that Goldman was a “boys’ club,” where women are sexualized, paid less and given less-prestigious positions.
“This constellation of evidence reflects widespread concerns among women about gender bias and a ‘boys club’ atmosphere; the sexualization of women and an uncorrected culture of sexual harassment and assault,” the complaint alleged.
In 2018 Lehrburger granted the lawsuit class-action status on behalf of more than 2,000 women.
In March, he ruled that about 1,000 of the class members must bring their claims against before an arbitrator, Bloomberg reported.
Goldman attorney Robert Giuffra told Lehrburger that Blankfein, Cohn and Solomon lacked unique knowledge of the policies at issue in the case and shouldn’t be forced to testify, according to the news outlet.
He claimed lawyers for the women sought their depositions “for their press value, for their harassment value, for their burden value.”