NY State Sues Brokerage for Sex Bias

The state of New York has filed a lawsuit against Garban LLC and its parent company, London-based United News & Media, charging that the Wall Street brokerage did nothing to stop cruel and pervasive harassment of its female employees.

The suit alleges that male employees called female employees obscene names and that one female employee was publicly ridiculed after suffering a miscarriage. Male employees “mocked her anatomy” and “were quite explicit in referencing her anatomy and body parts,” said State Attorney General Dennis Vacco. Male employees left the bathroom doors open so that all could see them while urinating. Strippers were hired to entertain and perform sex acts on male employees on the trading floor. Another male employee reportedly circulated a picture of himself engaged in a sexual act with a dog.

Women at the firm also allege that women were consistently paid lower salaries than male employees and received smaller bonuses. Women were denied well-deserved promotions and excluded from company opportunities to network with current and prospective clients, and were punished by managers when they complained.

Vacco will seek $10 million in damages plus additional fines, as well as a court order that would require the firm to set up a formal complaint procedure, to keep records of complaints, and to require that principals, supervisors, and all other employees receive mandatory sensitivity training.

In a statement made yesterday, Vacco announced that his office is investigating two additional Wall Street firms for evidence of similar activities.


Reuters - September 2, 1998

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