January 9, 2006

German bank sued in US for discrimination

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Six female employees filed a $1.4
billion class-action lawsuit against Dresdner Kleinwort
Wasserstein in federal court on Monday, alleging women at the
German investment bank are treated unfairly.

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in
Manhattan, women in Dresdner's New York and London offices are
barred from top jobs, do not receive the same pay as their male
colleagues, and are subjected to a hostile work environment,
among other things.

In one example, Jyoti Ruta, who works in the firm's capital
markets division in New York, said in the filing that she was
pressured to leave a dinner held to celebrate the closing of a
major deal so her male colleagues could go to a strip club.

Another plaintiff, Maria Rubashkina, said in the filing
that she was aware of a male managing director who routinely
brought prostitutes to the New York office during lunch hour.

In a statement distributed by email, Dresdner Kleinwort
said it was not their policy to comment on pending litigation
and that the firm "fully complies with all applicable
employment-related laws and is confident that any claims to the
contrary are without merit."

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is the investment banking
arm of Germany's Dresdner Bank, which is the banking arm of
Allianz AG Holding.

Wall Street firms have had to contend with a series sexual
discrimination suits in recent years, prompting them to crack
down on offensive behavior in the workplace and make promotions
and compensation plans more equitable for women.

For example, Morgan Stanley, which paid $54 million to
settle discrimination charges in July 2004, fired four
employees in recent weeks after they accompanied at least one
client to a strip club.