Read How Workplace Sexual Harassment Invades High-Finance
Wall Street is a fast-paced, high-finance, and action-packed section in New York City. Companies fight to make sure their clients’ investments grow beyond their expectations. One of the riskiest forms of investments with the highest rate of return is hedge funds.
Hedge funds are not for everyone. They are for those looking to invest large sums of money in a more sophisticated way. Those who work within hedge funds are extremely knowledgeable regarding high-finance investments. They are often considered the best of the best financial experts.
Therefore, it is natural to assume that if you are a hedge fund employee, you would not have to encounter any forms of sexual harassment. However, this assumption would be wrong. Sexual harassment within hedge funds occurs more widely than many would think.
Working in high finance does not create an exemption from sexual harassment from coworkers, managers, and owners.
What Is a Hedge Fund?
If you work within the world of finance, you know what a hedge fund is. It is an unregulated investment vehicle that can provide large financial returns. However, they also come with large financial risks.
People who work within hedge funds are dealing with large clients and even larger investments. While very wealthy individuals can invest in hedge funds, many times, investors are organizations, charities, educational facilities, and other non-profit or for-profit organizations.
What is Considered Sexual Harassment?
No matter what type of business occurs within a workplace, sexual harassment may be a part of the culture. Sexual harassment occurs when an employee, intern, or job applicant experiences unwelcome physical contact, sexual offers, or deals with sexual comments.
Sexual harassment can occur as employer sexual harassment, owner sexual harassment, coworker sexual harassment, client sexual harassment, and manager or supervisor sexual harassment. It can affect men or women in the workplace. Sexual harassment does not discriminate.
How Does Sexual Harassment Occur within Hedge Funds?
Sexual harassment occurs within hedge funds the same way it occurs within other organizations. Employers can make sexual comments to their employees. Coworkers can touch other employees inappropriately. Managers may make sexual advances toward unwilling employees.
Below are some of the most recent hedge fund sexual harassment claims.
1. Based in Connecticut, Bridgewater Associates is the largest hedge fund in existence. Recently they settled a sexual harassment complaint. According to the complaint, a male employee claimed his male supervisor continually made sexual passes towards him, even when he was asked to stop. Furthermore, the human resources team allegedly attempted to persuade the employee to drop his complaint and created an atmosphere of fear that prevented him from reporting the incident.
The settlement resulted in the company dropping the complaint (allowing the employee to get a job with another private equity firm). In exchange, the employee dropped the sexual harassment claim.
2. In May 2022, another hedge fund found itself in the news for sexual harassment claims. According to the court filing, the COO of Golden Tree Asset Management (a Wall Street hedge Fund), William Christian, was terminated after he allegedly got an employee pregnant and exposed his genitals to other employees within the workplace. Furthermore, he allegedly held face-to-face meetings with others within the workplace while his pants were down around his ankles. He allegedly made many sexual comments and jokes among other employees. The complaint alleged his actions created a hostile work environment.
3. In 2017, it became known that the founder of OrbiMed Advisors, Sam Isaly allegedly created a hostile work environment for the women of his firm. The women claim they were paid very well and received many perks as part of working for the hedge fund. However, the environment was bad enough that they felt the need to quit.
According to the women within the workplace, Mr. Isaly would watch pornography on screens throughout the office. He would also use a set of breast implants as stress relievers which he would play with at any time. While the women claimed that Mr. Isaly never touched them in any way, they said they made complaints to HR. HR confirmed investigations were conducted and nothing “rose to the level of a sexually egregious behavior.” Mr. Isaly eventually stepped down from his position within the firm amidst the sexual harassment allegations.
These cases are just a few examples of how sexual harassment can occur within the world of high finance. Many times, hedge fund managers and executives may think they are above the law. However, they must face accountability for their actions in the same manner as any executive, manager, or employee that works within any type of company. Wall Street and the world of high finance do not allow these wealthy managers of multi-billion-dollar funds to escape accountability when it comes to workplace sexual harassment.
What Can You Do If You Are a Victim of Sexual Harassment within a Hedge Fund?
No matter how much money is flowing through your company, you should not feel intimidated and prohibited from exercising your rights against workplace sexual harassment. You have the right to stand up and tell your employer to stop harassing you and others. You have a right to report these actions to your hedge fund’s HR department. You have a right to keep your job even after you report sexual harassment at work.
The Derek Smith Law Group can help you fight sexual harassment within hedge funds. Our lawyers work with employees in all areas of employment, including the world of high finance. Working in the heart of New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Miami allows us to see the world of high finance firsthand and understand the expectations of employees within that world.
Call us at 800.807.2209 for a free consultation to learn more about your rights against sexual harassment and how our firm can help you fight for your rights.