(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc was hit with a gender bias lawsuit on Wednesday by women who said Wall Street's most profitable bank maintained an "outdated corporate culture" that systematically deprived them of pay and promotions available to men.
The lawsuit was filed by three former employees. It seeks class-action status on behalf of all female managing director, vice president and associate employees in the last six years.
Goldman spokesman Ed Canaday declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan federal court.
According to the complaint, Goldman gives its managers, the vast majority of whom are men, "unchecked discretion" to assign accounts and responsibilities to subordinates, and to decide who gets administrative support and training.
It said this causes women to be underrepresented in management, comprising just 14 percent of partners, 17 percent of managing directors and 29 percent of vice presidents.
The policies "are part and parcel of an outdated corporate culture," the complaint said. "Goldman Sachs has intentionally implemented these company-wide policies and practices in order to pay their male employees more money than their female counterparts, and to promote them more frequently."
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Cristina Chen-Oster, a former vice president in convertible bonds; Lisa Parisi, a former managing director in asset management, and Shanna Orlich, a former associate in trading. Chen-Oster and Orlich live in New Jersey, and Parisi in Georgia.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The case is Chen-Oster et al v Goldman Sachs & Co et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-06950.