Goldman Sachs seeks arbitration

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Lisa Parisi, H. Cristina Chen-Oster and Shanna Orlich caused a big stir when they sued Goldman Sachs in 2010, charging that the bank systematically discriminated against women

The suit itself painted an ugly picture of gender relations at the bank, featuring allegations of lewd, hostile acts as well as acts of exclusion that did not do the bank (or Wall Street) any PR favors. Chen-Oster, was a vice president; Parisi was a managing director; and Orlich was an associate in the fixed-income unit.

The case is alive and well, and, as Reuters notes, there's a lot of skirmishing going on legally. The bank asked a U.S. appeals court this week to send the dispute to arbitration rather than allow it to go forward as a class action suit.

"The case is being watched closely because it could help other employers avoid discrimination class actions."

After the lawsuit was originally filed, Goldman Sachs asked the court to enforce the arbitration agreement, which was agreed to by contract. But an April 2011, a judge denied the request. The case has grown in prominence as of late.

"Both sides in the Goldman dispute have prominent backers in their corners. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association both filed friend-of-the-court briefs urging the 2nd Circuit to uphold Goldman's arbitration rights. The former employees are meanwhile supported by groups including the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Women's Law Center, the National Employment Lawyers Association and Public Citizen."

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