A former employee claims she was subjected to demeaning and sexist treatment at work as an explosive legal battle gets underway.
A former employee claims she was subjected to demeaning and sexist treatment at work as an explosive legal battle gets underway.

Huge business accused of sexist ‘ranking of women’

A US hedge fund is a hotbed of sexual harassment, with staff members ranking female employees in "f**k, marry and kill" categories and one rating work neighbour Chelsea Clinton as "on her best day … a three," according to a suit filed on Monday.

Former Advent Capital employee Courtney Robb claims in her Manhattan federal court suit that she was fired in 2017 in retaliation for speaking out about the sexist culture.

The harassment began soon after Ms Robb started at the multi-billion dollar hedge fund in 2016, when her male superiors openly labelled women in "f**k, marry and kill" categories, according to the suit.

One of the traders at the company told Ms Robb that other employees suggested changing her status from "marry" to "kill," the suit states.

And a portfolio manager who reported to the big boss, Tracy Maitland, "allegedly told other men at Advent that Ms Robb was such an uptight b**ch that she already was at 'wife' status," according to the suit.

Ms Robb complained about the degrading language, including the rampant use of "b**ch" and "c**t" in the trading floor, to the chief executive officer, because there was no human resources department, the suit said.

"A mere five minutes" after the woman complained, Mr Maitland, the fund's founder and chief investment officer, called Ms Robb into his office, the suit said.

Mr Maitland, a 59-year-old well-known in the finance world who is a vocal supporter of Joe Biden, closed the door to his office and said to Ms Robb, "I heard you think the company's management is f***ed up," the suit alleged.

Ms Robb contends that Mr Maitland dismissed the trading floor language as "locker room talk," and responded to her call for more female leadership at Advent by asking her, "What do you want me to do? Hire more women? They just end up leaving to take care of kids!"

The demeaning comments about Chelsea Clinton were made soon after Ms Robb started working at Advent in 2016 because the fund shared a mid-town Manhattan office building with the Clinton Foundation, the suit said.

So Ms Robb and other employees would often see the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton in the lobby of the building.

"On her best day, Chelsea Clinton is a three," proclaimed the same portfolio manager who called her an uptight b**ch, the suit said.

Tired of the "rampant misogynist rhetoric", Ms Robb and two other women began regularly wearing headphones until they were told that founder Mr Maitland had ordered them to stop, even though male employees could continue to wear headphones at work, the suit claims.

"While Advent cannot comment on pending litigation, we believe that the complaint does not fairly or accurately recount the facts of this matter," an Advent spokesperson said in a statement to The Post.

"Advent Capital Management LLC is a minority-owned firm which takes seriously its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace," the firm's spokesperson said in the statement, referring to Mr Maitland, who is one of the very few African-American hedge fund managers running his own firm.

In December 2017, Advent sued Ms Robb in New York Supreme Court for stealing proprietary information during her time at the fund. That suit alleges Ms Robb forwarded roughly 50 emails from her work account to her personal one.

Ms Robb has counterclaimed that Advent's suit was retaliation for filing sexual harassment claim with New York City's Commission on Human Rights, using the emails she forwarded to herself.

None of the emails contained confidential financial information, she has said.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as $9b firm accused of 'ranking women'

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