Employees with Sexual Harassment Case Against Lehman Still Waiting


Sexist remarks, lewd gestures — and worse.

Allegations like these are sorely acquainted within the #metoo generation. Only this time, they hail from what looks like wall street’s darkish a while: lower back when lehman brothers became flying excessive.
Extra than a decade after lehman collapsed, six ladies who labored on the bank’s subprime-mortgage unit are nonetheless accusing a former colleague of sexual harassment — and nevertheless looking forward to answers.

The story of those employees-became-whistleblowers-turned-plaintiffs won new attention with a 2018 documentary, “inside lehman brothers,” approximately alleged economic irregularities at the bank.

But because the #metoo movement shakes energy structures in some of the country’s maximum visible arenas, the tale additionally underscores a sober reality for plenty ladies in finance. The industry has lengthy nurtured a lifestyle that keeps harassment court cases out of courts and the public eye — and has to date prevented a mega-scandal just like the one engulfing harvey weinstein.

The lehman tale starts offevolved in sacramento, california, because the first rate american mortgage bubble became swelling. The ladies — coleen colombo, cheryl mcneil, linda howard-james, sylvia vega-suftin, isabel guajardo and michelle seymour — were working for bnc loan, lehman’s subprime unit.

Colombo, an underwriter, approached nearby management approximately signs and symptoms of fraudulent lending in early 2005, announcing she’d visible mortgage-software files with fabricated pay stubs and doctored numbers, in keeping with the lawsuit.

Stress to approve loans with falsified facts turned into affecting her bodily and emotional fitness, and she took a go away of absence to deal with the stress, the in shape claims. While she back she changed into advised one of the department’s managers desired her fired for making the record. Colombo later resigned.

Colombo stated inside the criticism that an account manager at the workplace, daniel keenan, started sexually harassing her after she expressed issue about the loans. Among different matters, she stated he entered her workplace and rubbed his body in opposition to hers. Different women suggested that keenan had inappropriately touched them, regarded down their blouses and made racist and sexual comments.

‘antagonistic place of job’
A representative for lehman didn’t respond to requests for comment. Attempts via bloomberg to attain keenan were unsuccessful, and a court notice published in 2012 confirmed he hadn’t been served with the complaint because he couldn’t be placed.

Howard-james, who now uses the surname weekes, said in an interview that she began flagging altered tax paperwork and bank statements inside six months of becoming a member of bnc.

“it were given to the factor wherein i didn’t trust anything in any record,” weekes stated. “i were given quite efficient at searching at documentation and reporting it lower back to corporate. I idea i was doing them a big favor. All i did became positioned a target on my again.”

Weekes attributes an awful lot of what she described as a ” adversarial place of work” to her decision to document her findings. She stated she was told managers didn’t need her to underwrite positive loans and desired her fired but wouldn’t do so due to the fact they have been afraid she’d sue.

‘chester molester’
While guajardo joined the department in april 2005, she changed into advised not to accomplice with colombo and weekes, in line with the lawsuit. Managers requested her to look at them and document on their sports.

Seymour, who joined in can also 2005, commenced being sexually harassed by means of keenan across the time she stated fraudulent documents in mortgage-software files, the healthy claims. When she complained to a supervisor, he stated he’d visible the conduct but disregarded it as “a laugh and video games.” the supervisor nicknamed keenan “chester molester.”

Five of the lady resigned in september 2005, after keenan approached weekes in a document room and pressured his body towards hers whilst respiratory down her neck, the suit says.

Mcneil, who said she stopped receiving new loans to manner after flagging possible fraudulent hobby to a nearby account manager, had resigned in advance. She said keenan made comments about her garments, requested about her intercourse life and made offensive remarks approximately “black people and their music.”

Lawsuit limbo
The six women sued in november 2005. Bnc to begin with sought to send the healthy to arbitration, the typical course in finance. But by the point a court docket ruled the case could go to trial, lehman had shut the loan unit. A yr later, the financial institution collapsed, leaving the lawsuit in limbo.

After resigning from bnc, weekes worked for countrywide monetary, a subprime-generation massive. But she stated that task had the various equal stresses. She ended up taking medical go away and later resigned. For approximately years, she struggled to find a steady activity in the loan enterprise. The alternative women pronounced comparable difficulties locating paintings.

“it just felt like i used to be on a blacklist,” weekes stated.

Gary gwilliam, who represents the ladies, stated cash in a accept as true with tied to bnc, believed to be about $10 million, represents the low stop of what they need to receive based on nearly 15 years of lost wages and emotional misery.

Lehman is in search of to hold this money in case it is able to be implemented toward the $2.4 billion lehman was ordered to pay ultimate 12 months to resolve a dispute over its wrong residential-mortgage-backed securities. Gwilliam argues the accept as true with money isn’t eligible for that payment due to the fact representatives for mortgage-bond shoppers failed to prove there were breaches on tens of lots of loans bundled into the securities.

“we’re talking approximately six girls who have suffered for nicely over 10 years,” gwilliam stated in an interview. “there aren’t any other severe creditors to this part of the bankruptcy. They have to be paid.”

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