Goldman Sachs was on the receiving end of a lawsuit Wednesday by an ex-vice president who claims that he was discriminated against, and then fired, for being gay. Former Goldman employee William Littleton sued the bank in New York state court, claiming that he was fired after eight years of "superior performance reviews" and despite "holding a position of leadership among gay and lesbian employees at the firm," according to Bloomberg.
"Mr. Littleton was one of the most proud, active and vocal LGBTQ leaders at Goldman throughout his tenure," his lawsuit states. Littleton claims the bank violated New York state and city anti-discrimination laws and is seeking compensation and punitive damages.
31-year-old Littleton formerly worked with Goldman’s Product Strategy Group and said he was excluded from a call with a Goldman client because he "sounded too gay" and was asked by a supervisor once "What's wrong with you? Do you act this way because you’re gay?" Littleton says his experience is a microcosm of "larger institutional problems" at the investment bank.
The complaint says: “Unfortunately, Mr. Littleton’s termination at Goldman is not an isolated incident or exception to the rule at the bank or on Wall Street more broadly. The bank does little more than provide lip-service to LGBTQ diversity."
Littleton also says that he was subjected to demeaning remarks and that his compensation decreased despite promotions and increased responsibilities. In May 2018, he complained to the bank's employee relations department and months later, he received a performance review with criticisms that he believes were “a belated attempt to create a paper trail”. He was then told his last day would be January 31, 2019.
Should the court rule in Littleton's favor it would unleash an avalanche of lawsuits in which any alleged "suppressed minority" member who was terminated, will claim retaliation, costing their former employers millions in legal fees. What this will result in is potential employers staying as far as possible from hiring such "minority group" members, effectively jeopardizing much if not all of the recent progress to promote equal rights.