Why the woman who filed Wall Street's big #MeToo lawsuit is speaking out

Business Insider

The woman who filed a lawsuit against billionaire Steve Cohen’s hedge fund is speaking out as to why.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Lauren Bonner, who works in talent for Point72, said that the lawsuit was her “last option” after trying for months to get her title and pay on par with similar male employees, and noticing widespread gender discrimination at the firm.

Her suit accuses Cohen, Point72, and former president Doug Haynes of fostering a sexist culture – from wage disparities to disparaging comments about women and their looks. Point72 says the suit is “without merit” and “replete with allegations that are either false or based on unsubstantiated hearsay.” It still may go to trial.

Haynes, who the suit accused of having the word “pussy” written on his office whiteboard, left in the aftermath. Point72’s head of human resources, Mike Butler, is set to leave, too,Business Insider reported Tuesday. The pair had previously been brought in to revamp Point72’s culture following SAC Capital’s closure for insider trading.

Strikingly, Bonner has continued to go to work every day since she filed her suit in February – which has been awkward, to say the least. Per the New Yorker:

“She believes that people are scared to talk to her. Conversations tend to end when she enters a room, and she says that her responsibilities have been reduced, so she feels that there isn’t all that much for her to do.”

Bonner recognises she makes a lot of money in her position – her lawsuit says she’s expected to make $US300,000 base salary and a bonus of $US225,000 this year – but “fairness and equality should still apply,” she told The New Yorker.

And that led her to speak out, to help other women.

“If someone like me, with my background, can’t be paid at parity, or break down some of the doors, I don’t know who can. . . . A lot of the women around me had mortgages, had kids, were primary breadwinners, or were more junior and hadn’t worked at other places, didn’t have track records, didn’t have relationships. And there was so much fear. I just thought, I don’t think I can live with myself if I don’t do something about it.”

Bonner also has ideas on why more women on Wall Street haven’t come forward about discrimination. She said:

“My response is, more women haven’t come out because it is as bad as it is. That’s why. It’s a small club, and it’s an all-boys club, and people are terrified of not getting another job.” She went on, “When you’re paid less than someone who’s doing the exact same job, and probably at the same performance level as well, women start to develop a sense of, ‘I’m lucky to have this job. If I’m not paid as much, God, I’m lucky to even be here.’ ”

You can read the full New Yorker interview here.

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