A group of female bankers in New York have filed a $1.4bn lawsuit against Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein claiming that women are treated as second-class citizens at the German bank.
The lawsuit cited by the Associated Press said: "Although we live in 2006, the glass ceiling is alive and well at this German investment bank where women are treated as second-class citizens with respect to all of the terms and conditions of their employment."
According to Dow Jones, the class action suit was brought by a group of six women in New York: Joanne Hart, a director of investor relations in DrKW's international equities sales group; Traci Holt, a vice president in DrKW's structured finance group; Maria Rubashkina, a vice president in DrKW's corporate communications department; Jyoti Ruta, a director in structured finance; Katherine Smith, a director in equity sales trading; and Kathleen Treglia, a vice president in fixed income.
The suit claimed that 1% of women who work in capital markets are managing directors, compared with 15% of their male counterparts.
The filing also claims that inappropriate comments were made by male employees at DrKW, including a supervisor describing one plaintiff as the Pamela Anderson of trading.
One female executive said salesmen on the fixed income desk in New York have openly commented about how they hired female juniors because they wished to have eye candy in the office, while another said a male managing director routinely brought prostitutes to the office during the lunch hour, according to Dow Jones.
A DrKW spokeswoman said: "It is not our policy to comment on pending or threatened litigation. DrKW fully complies with all applicable employment-related laws and is confident that any claims to the contrary are without merit. DrKW intends to vigorously defend this matter."