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New York Hedge Fund Hit with Lawsuit Alleging Gender Discrimination

— May 25, 2020

Advent Capital Management LLC is being sued by a former employee over allegations that it discriminated and retaliated against her when she voiced concerns about gender discrimination.

Advent Capital Management LLC is at the center of a new lawsuit accusing it of gender discrimination. The company is a New York hedge fund, and according to the suit, it “subjected a former junior investment associate to relentless, egregious discrimination and then fired her for complaining about it to the firm’s top executives.”

Gavel resting on open book; image by verkeorg, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.
Gavel resting on open book; image by verkeorg, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.

The suit was filed by Courtney Robb on Monday in federal court in Manhattan. She worked for the firm from August 2016 to May 2017. What happened, though? What kind of discrimination did she face? Well, according to her lawsuit, the firm’s male traders and portfolio managers regularly talked about women in a demeaning manner. For example, they “ranked women on a 1-10 scale, called them demeaning names and classified them according to whether men would marry, kill, or have sex with them.”

Robb also noted that when she was first hired, the firm’s offices were in the same building as the Clinton Foundation. Because of that, firm employees “were used to seeing Chelsea Clinton in the lobby and elevators.” On one occasion, a portfolio manager loudly proclaimed on the Advent trading floor that, “on her best day, Chelsea Clinton is a 3,” Robb said. That was just another example of the boy’s club that allegedly exists at the firm.

As a result, Robb voiced complaints to the firm’s “former chief operating officer and was later fired after a closed-door meeting in which the firm’s president and chief investment officer, Tracy Maitland, excused the behavior as locker room talk.” The complaint further states:

“Just weeks after engaging in protected speech about discrimination to Maitland himself and the COO, Advent fired Ms. Robb without any explanation.”

Shortly after, Advent sued Robb over claims that she “stole data from the firm with the intent of causing harm to Advent’s business and reputation and to benefit herself or Advent’s competitors.” That particular suit is currently pending in state court in Manhattan. However, Robb pushed back against that lawsuit and said that the Advent claim is “meritless and was meant to retaliate against her for complaining about her treatment.”

When commenting on the allegations, Advent said it is “a minority-owned firm which takes seriously its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and takes all employee concerns extremely seriously.”

In addition to Advent, Robb’s lawsuit also names Maitland as a defendant. She is currently seeking unspecified damages and hopes to raise awareness of workplace discrimination.


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