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Is Wall Street ‘mommy-tracking’? VP files suit against Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank announced in July that it would cut 1,900 jobs and, on September 11, the German-based bank said there would be more. This was all part of a global cost-cutting plan, so people were worried. Luckily, the hedge fund group in the New York office was told on August 21 that no one in their area was slated to lose a job.

Apparently that did not apply to the group’s vice president, a 46-year-old woman who had filed suit against the bank for putting her on the “mommy track.” She was fired on September 12, the day after the second round of job cuts was announced.

She has now amended her lawsuit, contending that this supposed layoff was actually a wrongful termination in retaliation for her having filed the gender discrimination lawsuit against the bank last year.

According to the original complaint, she joined the bank’s New York Office in 1998, apparently having been brought in as a vice president. Despite her quick rise up until then, she was apparently never promoted subsequently by Deutsche Bank.

In the spring of 2010, she took maternity leave. When she returned to work, she discovered that all of the bigger, more important accounts were being directed to a male colleague. In addition, her annual bonus was slashed and, she claims, her supervisors tried to demote her to a job in marketing. She was being squeezed out, and she cried foul.

As the lawsuit moved forward, according to her attorney, she continued to receive “numerous accolades from her clients.” It soon became clear, however that management would give her no accolades.

She received her first-ever negative performance review that year — shortly after the lawsuit was filed. Her accomplishments were ignored, and “fabricated performance deficiencies” were used against her — which directly led to her being removed from an important account. In September of this year, she was fired.

“There can be no legitimate basis for choosing her for termination as opposed to any of her peers,” her attorney told Reuters in a phone interview.

She is seeking both compensation for her losses and punitive damages against the bank, along with other remedies. She has filed a parallel discrimination case with the EEOC.

In the past year or two, there have been enough gender discrimination lawsuits against big banks and Wall Street firms to cause overt comment in the press. Do you think there is a particular trend of “mommy-tracking” women in high-power, exclusive fields like investment banking? Or is it just as common in other fields?

Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, “Deutsche Bank VP says fired in retaliation for bias case,” Jonathan Stempel, Sep. 19, 2012

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