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Gender Discrimination & Equal Pay

[A former financial industry employee] said many of her female co-workers got smaller bonuses because they didn’t golf or pal around with male managing directors. “There were a couple that tried to be buddy-buddy with the guys, but it never really worked,” she said. “It wasn’t like the 1960s, getting slapped on the butt all the time. It was very subtle.”

– “Ranks of Women on Wall Street Thin,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2010.

According to the Wall Street Journal, if you ask the young women who are leaving or being flushed out of the industry in droves, “sexism is still rife on Wall Street, albeit less overt.” Discriminatory terminations, failure to promote and exclusionary networking are not the only disturbing trends in the modern economy. Bloomberg News recently reported that the financial industry surpasses all other industries in the gender-based pay gap, with women making between 51 and 66 cents for every dollar made by men in the same positions. Bonuses and individual performance-based rankings are shrouded in secrecy, so women in the financial industry often don’t realize they are being sold short, as the lawyers in our practice have found. In fact, many investment banks refuse to provide numeric performance ratings to the ranked employees themselves.

If you are a woman in the post-collapse economy, and if you have designs for a Director title in the financial industry, you may face an uphill battle. As the Wall Street Journal reported, women clearly bore the brunt of layoffs in 2008 and 2009 during the early days of the recession and have not returned to the financial industry, either because they are not being hired or because they have decided not to return. The numbers are particularly stark for woman between the ages of 20 and 35 – since 2000, the number of women working in finance has dropped by 16.5% while the number of men in that age range grew by 7.3%. This is a significant and surprising reversal of the trend since the early 1970’s when young women enrolled in college and graduate schools at record levels and began joining professional occupations, including finance, where their representation in these male dominated industries increased.

Our practice prides itself on providing thoughtful advice to women reckoning with this illegal practice. For our gender discrimination clients in the financial industry, speaking out, through an attorney, can resolve the wrongs committed against them, and our lawyers have found that the banks will respond to our well-reasoned arguments. But like everything else in the financial industry, reputation and credibility are paramount. Our lawyers have litigated against the largest investment banks, prevailing and earning the respect of decisionmakers. Our lawyers will walk you through the challenging first steps, and will bolster your credibility, and provide support, when you need it most.