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It takes a lot of guts to stand up to your boss or place of business, especially when you work on Wall Street. Messing with someone from this financial industry isn’t always easy. You’re going against people or corporations who have tons of money, a great legal team, and everything to lose. You could even damage your career or ability to find work on Wall Street ever again if things go sideways.
Nevertheless, Paul Touradji lawsuit hit the headlines in last May (2019) when a Manhattan jury awarded 2 former employees of commodities hedge fund “Touradji Capital Management” to be compensated with 90M$ for verbally promised bonuses Mr Touradji failed to deliver. This was not the first lawsuit in the history of Wall Street where employees dragged bosses and superiors off to court, let’s review the most resounding ones:
1. Paul Touradji, Touradji Capital Management
Gentry Beach and Robert Vollero have recently won a court battle against their former boss. Paul Touradji’s trial lasted for a decade and has one of the biggest payouts in Wall Street history. Paul Touradji was Beach and Vollero’s boss and they worked together for three years before things started going sideways.
Touradji had been withholding the bonuses of Beach and Vollero and was constantly making up reasons or flat out lying about why he couldn’t give them their rightfully earned money. In addition to this unfortunate circumstance, Touradji was a very aggressive man who was always verbally abusing his employees and using scare tactics against them.
When Beach and Vollero confronted Touradji about their $46 million dollars in bonuses, he yelled at them so hard that a different employee called the police. Beach was even afraid for his life, stating that Touradji had threatened to kill him. Talk about a horrible situation; imagine your boss trying to kill you!
After numerous altercations and no bonuses, Beach and Vollero decided to file a lawsuit in 2009. Only a few weeks ago did the trial finally come to a close in New York, with the court ordering Touradji to pay up to $90 million dollars to his former employees in order to compensate for lost time.
2. Goldman Sachs Class Action Lawsuit
Christina Chen-Oster, former vice president at Goldman Sachs, experienced sexual assault and sexism within her time at the brokerage firm. About 7 months into starting, she was groped and kissed by a man she worked with after they went out with friends for a few drinks. Because she was new to the job, she didn’t file a complaint and kept quiet.
However, as her time continued in Goldman Sachs, she began experiencing sexism within the workplace – especially with regard to getting a promotion and being able to keep clients that were valuable to her. Several men who started working after her and were not ranked as high ended up vastly surpassing her and getting access to all her work. By the end of 2004, she found herself working in the same area as the administrative assistants.
Chen-Oster finally filed a complaint which led to a storm of other women speaking up about their experiences as well. In fact, around 2,300 former and current employees of Goldman Sachs will be represented due to Chen-Oster’s courage. She fought Goldman Sachs for 13 years before finally hearing the great news!
3. Benjamin Wey, New York Global Group
Hanna Bouveng sued her Wall Street boss in 2014, stating sexual harassment and defamation were common. Bouveng was originally from Sweden and was living in the US on a work visa from New York Global Group.
Her boss, Benjamin Wey, apparently made Hanna have sex with him several times and made her feel terrified that he would fire her if she didn’t comply as well as revoke her work visa and the apartment he was paying for where she lived.
According to Bouveng, as soon as she began working for Wey, he began pushing himself on her during business trips. Wey states that they two never had sex and his lawyer states the claims are bogus, but that didn’t stop Bouveng from fighting her fight.
She ended up suing him in 2014 for $850 million dollars!
4. Morgan Stanley Class Action Lawsuit
In 2004, the New York based Wall Street brokerage, Morgan Stanley, paid $54 million dollars in settlement claims of sexual discrimination as well as higher pay for men of the firm.
Allison Schieffman, former employee of Morgan Stanley, filed the lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision. Schieffman claims that her rights to promotions were taken away, and after her story went public, over 25 other women came forward as well to express their personal stories and to take action.
Aside from the high payout to these women for money they truly deserve, the firm was instructed to conduct anti-discrimination programs and diversity training in order to ensure scenarios like this don’t occur again.
According to the lawsuit, it was common culture at Morgan Stanley to frequent strip clubs with clients as well as make controversial comments to women in the workplace. There’s no denying that this sort of “acceptable” behavior can make it extremely challenging for women to work, especially those who are just trying to do their jobs and grow their careers.
At the end of the day, it’s so important to stand up for yourself and fight for your rights no matter how long it takes. These examples show how it is possible to win as the underdog!