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Lawsuits alleging workplace discrimination and harassment can be extremely damaging to employers in California and around the country, and this is especially true when the claims involve unfair treatment based on a worker’s gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. One such case was filed on June 5 in New York by a former vice president of the Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs. The 31-year-old banker claims in his lawsuit that he was fired for complaining about the treatment LGBT workers were subjected to at the bank.

In the lawsuit, the man claims that unwarranted criticisms of his job performance that began after he voiced concerns about rampant homophobia and discrimination within the bank were used to create a paper trail. He says that this evidence was then cited to justify his termination. One allegation contained in the lawsuit deals with an important conference call. The man claims that a supervisor refused to let him take part in the call because he sounded “too gay”.

A Goldman Sachs representative vowed that the company would defend itself in court and dismissed the allegations as baseless. The spokesperson also lauded the bank’s support of the LGBT community and its commitment to providing its employees with a diverse and tolerant working environment. There does appear to be at least some evidence to back up these claims. In 2018, the Human Rights Campaign gave Goldman Sachs a perfect score in its Corporate Equity Index.

Attorneys with experience in workplace harassment and discrimination cases may seek to settle these matters quickly to spare their clients the expense and emotional strain of protracted litigation. Employers may be more open to a speedy settlement when presented with evidence. Such evidence could include journals containing the dates of specific events along with the names of others present and copies of emails or other company communications that feature discriminatory or disparaging language.

Source: CNBC, “Goldman Sachs is sued by a gay former executive who alleges sexual orientation discrimination”, Eric Rosenbaum, June 5, 2019