Oppenheimer to Settle Gender Bias Suit
Tuesday September 12, 5:27 pm ET
By Chad Bray, Dow Jones Newswires

Oppenheimer to Pay $85,500 to Settle Gender Bias Suit: EEOC

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. has agreed to pay $85,500 to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit alleging discriminatory behavior in its hiring practices, the agency said Tuesday.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit in January alleging that Fahnestock & Co. Inc., which is now known as Oppenheimer & Co., denied a job interview to a woman named Jaime Sanders in 2003 for a broker trainee position because of her gender.

The EEOC said Oppenheimer, as part of a consent decree filed with the court, will set up a $75,000 scholarship fund for the advancement of women in the financial services industry and to provide $10,500 to Sanders.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC claimed that Sanders learned of the discrimination when her brother and other male colleagues were immediately granted job interviews over the phone after she and other female colleagues were told a position at the firm had been filled.

"We are pleased that Oppenheimer worked with us to take affirmative steps to prevent discrimination against women in the financial services industry," said Kam S. Wong, a senior trial attorney for the EEOC in New York.

As part of the settlement, Oppenheimer also has agreed to target women in its recruiting and hiring efforts, create and implement a mentoring program where senior managers provide professional guidance and support to women in broker-trainee positions, and provide anti-discrimination training, the EEOC said.

The company didn't immediately have a comment when contacted on Tuesday.