Female employees at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) are seeking justice for what they describe as a “fraternity culture” favoring white men.
Women involved in the lawsuit filed last November allege that they suffered harassment and discrimination due to their gender, and that they were retaliated against if they reported male misbehavior to Human Resources (HR). The suit also claims that PIMCO favors male employees, regardless of the female employees’ qualifications.
Recently, another former employee, Amanda Thiem, joined the lawsuit. She alleges that she was demoted after rejecting her boss’s sexual advances. After the incident, Thiem notes she was “targeted and ostracized” by others at the firm.
An entrenched culture of sexual harassment
This is not the first time PIMCO has been involved in sexual harassment claims. In 2018, former PIMCO executive Bill De Leon resigned after he was accused of inappropriately touching a colleague at a 2017 charity event.
Women allege that at the investment management company they suffered a pervasive culture of discrimination and harassment for years. They assert that even after De Leon’s public resignation, female employees continued to experience disrespect and harassment. In January, 21 current and former female PIMCO employees sent a letter to the firm expressing their discontent with their treatment at the company.
The letter stated that the women were passed over for deserved promotions and salary increases, harassed by male co-workers and retaliated against for reporting the abuse. They requested that PIMCO undergo a significant culture change so that all employees would be treated equally. They also asked the board of directors to diversify the company’s leadership under a five-year plan.
Will PIMCO change?
The multiple lawsuits against PIMCO show an apparent need for change. PIMCO reported that they have already taken significant steps to address the grievances mentioned in the women’s letter, including:
- Annual reviews of pay and promotion data
- An inclusive business strategy that focuses on retaining diverse talent
- Strict anti-retaliation policies
- A plan to promptly investigate discrimination/harassment allegations
Since 2018, PIMCO has also used a third-party service that employees can contact to confidentially report workplace issues.
Hopefully, the public reports of harassment and discrimination will spark a true reshaping of the company culture to one in which women and minorities are treated with respect and equality.