Mothers Accuse Goldman Sachs, Citigroup of Discrimination

Woman says she was "mommy-tracked" and then fired after having kids.

ByABC News
March 26, 2010, 12:14 PM

March 29, 2010 — -- Nobody said it's easy to balance Wall Street and family.

Two women have filed complaints against Wall Street banks, claiming they were discriminated against in their jobs after taking time off to have children. They are both seeking financial compensation.

Charlotte Hanna, a former Goldman Sachs vice president in the human resources division, claimed she was demoted after having her first child and fired while on maternity leave for her second child.

Dorly Hazan-Amir, an associate at Citigroup's asset finance division, claimed she was treated poorly after announcing her pregnancy and demoted after returning from maternity leave.

"Working mothers on Wall Street not only have to contend with the newfound obligations of caring for their child, but must also overcome the stereotype and biases that they are unable to do both," said Douglas Wigdor, the lawyer representing Hanna and Hazan-Amir.

In her suit, Hanna claimed that she was "mommy-tracked" into positions that hurt her earnings potential and professional growth after she had her first child and took advantage of a Goldman Sachs program that allowed her to work three days a week.

At the time, the suit claimed, she was demoted from her position as the head of her department and moved from her private office into a cubicle. Then, while on maternity leave with her second child, she was allegedly told her position had been eliminated only to discover later that another employee had been hired to take over her duties.

"I was shocked to learn that I was being fired while I was on maternity leave," she told ABC via e-mail. "I wanted to continue my career at Goldman but, unfortunately, they do not view a woman who has had a child as a productive employee."

Goldman Sachs said Hanna's case is without merit.

"Ms. Hanna was treated very fairly throughout her employment at the firm, and we are very proud of the programs and initiatives we have in place to support working mothers," a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman said.

To the firm's credit, it has often been recognized for its efforts in hiring women and bringing mothers back into the fold. The firm was named by Working Mother magazine last year as one of the best 100 companies to work for, based partly on the "Returnship" program it launched a few years ago to help women who have left their jobs "ramp" back onto their careers.

Hazan-Amir's case is slightly different. She complained about a long-standing "boys club" culture at Citi and claimed that supervisors have discriminated against her because of here gender since the beginning of her tenure. When she became pregnant, the attitude of her bosses reportedly worsened, she claimed.

One manager allegedly asked her whether she planned to be a "career mom" or a "mom mom," which Hazan-Amir said was inappropriate because it implied she had to choose between career and family.