- A group of women who sued Goldman Sachs in 2010 over alleged gender discrimination have asked Magistrate Judge Robert Lehrburger to force the bank to search again for — and turn over to the court — any internal documents with terms such as "babe," "bimbo" or worse before current and former bank executives testify under oath.
- The bank filed a letter Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, saying it had already conducted "extensive searches" and turned over emails, adding that a new search would take about 17 months and be costly, Bloomberg reported.
- The plaintiffs claim the bank denied women equal pay and promotions they had earned, and made biased decisions regarding compensation. The bank denies the allegations.
A previous judge ruled that the plaintiffs couldn't allege disparate treatment as part of their class-action case. But Lehrburger said such internal documents could be relevant if they showed bias among executives in charge of hiring and performance evaluation policies.
The plaintiffs sought depositions from former CEO Lloyd Blankfein, former president Gary Cohn and current CEO David Solomon — a move the bank failed to block last month.
Robert Giuffra, a lawyer for Goldman, told Lehrburger the executives shouldn't be forced to testify, saying they lacked unique knowledge of the policies at the root of the case. Giuffra said lawyers for the plaintiffs sought their depositions "for their press value, for their harassment value, for their burden value."
Lehrburger, however, countered that "what they knew is important because, as the plaintiffs point out, the buck stops there." He ruled the plaintiffs could question each under oath for 3 1/2 hours apiece, then partially reversed course, saying he would decide after Blankfein and Cohn's depositions whether CEO David Solomon would also need to testify.
Lehrburger ruled in March that the bank could force more than 1,000 of the women into arbitration.
Goldman spokeswoman Leslie Shribman declined to comment to Bloomberg about the case.