NY hedge fund accused of allowing rampant sexual harassment

Did a billion-dollar hedge fund in New York City operate like a “boy’s club” where men felt free to rate women’s looks on a scale of 1 to 10 and discuss their suitability as sexual or marriage partners? Did the chief executive officer (CEO) of Advent Capital dismiss complaints about the sexual harassment as mere “locker room talk” and say that women who complained were making a big deal out of nothing?

Those are the allegations made in a lawsuit that was recently filed against the firm by a former employee. The plaintiff also contends that Advent’s CEO’s response to her when she brought her concerns to him was a frustrated, “What do you want me to do? Hire more women? They just end up leaving to take care of kids!”

Sexual harassment and gender discrimination are pervasive problems in some industries — particularly along male-dominated Wall Street. Despite all of the social progress that’s been made, some people still insist on saying, “Boys will be boys,” and then turning a blind eye to any problems. Women who complain are sometimes told (explicitly or not) that they need to simply toughen up and learn to get along with men.

You can’t change something if you ignore it. However, don’t expect your employer to necessarily see things that way. If you make a complaint and your employer is unable or unwilling to deal with the problem, you may find yourself the target of retaliation simply for speaking out. If you have been the victim of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation, find out how you can hold your employer liable.

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