NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Despite what you may have read about the Wall Street vampire squid that jams its blood funnel "into anything that smells like money," and with apologies to Matt Taibbi, it turns out the would-be sea monsters at Goldman Sachs Group ( GS) are actually a bunch of sensitive guys.
It may not look that way on the surface if you've been swayed by Taibbi's classic Rolling Stone article "The Great American Bubble Machine." But with an institution as invested as Goldman is in its employees, it is indefensible that the women on its payroll don't understand how assiduously the firm labors to do right by its workers, regardless of gender.
Three female former Goldman employees had the temerity to sue the firm in 2010, saying that it was about as bad an employer as you could find if you had two X chromosomes. On July 1, Cristina Chen-Oster, Lisa Parisi and Shanna Orlich filed a motion in Manhattan federal court seeking to be certified as a class that represented all the underpaid and under-promoted associates and vice presidents in the firm's investment banking, investment management and securities divisions.
Proving, though, that its cephalopodian heart is ever in the right place, Goldman on July 3 discreetly filed its response to the plaintiffs' charges that it pays women less than men, tolerates sexual assaults after company get-togethers, and fosters a workplace where it's OK for men to call their lower-paid female counterparts "bimbos."
Goldman submitted its legal filing so quietly that 15 days later, its response to the women's request for class certification still can't be found on the public docket of Judge Analisa Torres in the Southern District of New York. David Wells, a company spokesman, said he couldn't comment on the filing. Ultimately, I learned from a person familiar with the case that, for the past two weeks, Goldman has been hard at work redacting the document before the public can see it.
You've got to admire Goldman's devotion to protecting the privacy of the 32,900 people for whom it signs paychecks: If an employee has complained about unequal pay, or promotions that go only to the guys, or business meetings that take place at big-name Manhattan strip clubs, Goldman wants to spare that person the embarrassment of having their story become public.
Goldman lawyer Barbara Brown said as much to Magistrate Judge James C. Francis at a hearing in September: A current employee who may have had her complaint resolved might be "horrified" if the incident were to be made public, according to Brown. Both current and former employees "have a high degree of expectation of privacy and entitlement" about their complaints, she told the judge.