Sedef Koktenturk, a former Goldman Sachs banker, claims in a new lawsuit that her current employer discriminated against her because she was a woman.

According to the lawsuit, the London-based Genesis Investment Management treated her with a sexist, double-standard due to her former post at the Wall Street hedge fund. She claims that if she were not a woman her “success” and “direct approach” would have been championed and not criticized.

Koktenturk spent five years at Goldman Sachs, moving from an associate to an executive director. The investment manager has also had an interesting career, taking off for two years to join the Turkish Olympic Windsurfing Team.

Sedef Koktenturk, ex-Goldman Sachs employee who claimed discrimination in the workplace at Genesis. Now she serves as COO at Blue Horizon
Sedef Koktenturk, ex-Goldman Sachs employee who claimed discrimination in the workplace at Genesis. Now she serves as COO at Blue Horizon. Photo Credit: Blue Horizon

Leaving Genesis and filing the discrimination lawsuit, she has since become Managing Partner & COO at Blue Horizon, a Switzerland-based firm that invests in efforts toward a sustainable food system.

Testifying at a hearing for the lawsuit last Wednesday, Sedef Koktenturk stated that “There’s a stereotype of culture they think is at Goldman Sachs,” which is often used to “to discriminate against women.”

“I was told to remove Goldman Sachs multiple times from my CV,” she claimed. “They’re using the same definitions to stereotype me and they think it’s the culture.”

According to the lawsuit, higher-ups at Genesis Investment Management did not want to be associated with Goldman in any way, shape, or form, which is why she was asked to remove her tenure there from her resume.

Koktenturk stated that the London-based firm did not approve of her management style and once told her that she was putting in “irrational hours.”

Responding after hearing her oral testimony on Jan. 26, her boss at Genesis, Chris Ellyatt, defended his comments about her work style and denied her claims of sexist discrimination.

In an official statement, he said that his comments about “this not being Goldman Sachs,” or that her habit of working crazy hours “comes from Goldman,” was solely in response to the “silly hours” she was working.

“The fact that Sedef had previously worked at Goldman Sachs did not give me a pre-determined view of her,” Ellyatt continued. “That said, in the finance industry it is well understood that Goldman Sachs has a unique culture and it demands much of its employees — there is very strong ‘presenteeism’ ethic which we do not have at Genesis.”

Last year, multiple reports from first-year analysts detailed burnout at Goldman Sachs due to 100-hour work weeks. Many junior employees told the New York Post that their working conditions were “inhumane” and “abusive.” They were reportedly forced to work six-day work weeks and claimed that they were due $25 food stipends which never arrived.

Sedef Koktenturk, however, testified that she was working similar hours at Genesis. According to her boss, that’s why he called them “irrational,” but Koktenturk claimed that no one would have complained about how hard she worked if she were male.

“Ultimately, Genesis is an asset management company, and, like any asset management company, their number one priority is making money,” Koktenturk said.

According to Ellyatt, there were no sexist undertones in his criticism. He also denied Koktenturk’s claims that he asked to remove Goldman from her CV.

“We refute the allegation, made for the first time by Ms. Koktenturk during her oral evidence to the tribunal last week, that she was asked to remove a reference to any of her previous employers on her CV,” the company said in an official statement. “As a firm we are proud to have recruited professionals from across the global investment market and we treat all of our Genesis colleagues with dignity and respect.”