A former Goldman Sachs employee filed a lawsuit against the firm and two executives Monday, revealing an alleged inappropriate relationship between a senior member of Goldman’s legal department and one of his junior employees.
In the lawsuit, the former employee, Marla Crawford, alleged that Darrell Cafasso — the firm’s global head of litigation — had a physical relationship with a Jane Doe, who was struggling in performance reviews. Crawford alleges that Doe told her that Cafasso, who supervised them both, told Doe he would help her with the performance review, and she could “return the favor.”
Crawford, who has been on Goldman Sachs’ internal legal team since 2010, told Cafasso that she objected to his behavior and the bank’s subsequent investigation of it. Her lawsuit alleges that following her objection, he retroactively changed her own performance review, cutting her pay. Crawford believes that this was in retaliation for her comments.
Crawford sued Goldman, Cafasso, and Karen Seymour, general counsel at the firm, for allegedly violating the New York State Human Rights Law. She is seeking damages and attorney fees.
“We conducted a review of the allegations in this complaint and found that they were completely without merit,” a spokeswoman for Goldman said in a statement via email. “The General Counsel took all appropriate actions, including ensuring there were thorough investigations by our HR function, after the incidents that form the basis of the plaintiff’s complaint.”
Crawford said in her suit that following the investigation, Cafasso was “disinterested” in her work. In September, the bank told her that her role was being moved to Dallas as a cost-cutting measure, and offered for her to move there with a pay cut. Crawford, who is caring for her 83-year-old mother, according to the lawsuit, declined. Crawford alleges that this move was an attempt to force her out of the bank.
“As part of a broader legal division restructuring, the plaintiff was offered her same job in a different location, an opportunity she declined,” the spokeswoman said via email. “Given the lack of merit to plaintiff’s claim of retaliation, we have been unable to resolve the matter and thus have no choice but to contest it through the proper legal channels.”
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Goldman wouldn’t comment on the allegations Crawford made on the relationship between Cafasso and Doe.
Crawford alleges that Doe and Cafasso began to meet socially outside of work for drinks. Cafasso allegedly told Doe things like: “I have feelings for you I have never had for anyone else but my wife,” and “I think I’m falling in love with you.” The two eventually began a physical relationship, the lawsuit said.
In October 2019, Cafasso’s wife allegedly called Doe to tell her she knew about the relationship and that she was “praying for her.” Doe told Crawford about this and that she didn’t know what to do, the lawsuit said.
On November 1, 2019, Cafasso reported the relationship to the bank, the lawsuit said. Later that day, he allegedly called Doe at the office with his wife on speakerphone to tell her that the relationship was over. He then went on leave but returned within two weeks.
Crawford’s lawsuit alleges that after November 4, Doe never returned to the bank. The complaint alleged that she hired attorney Gloria Allred, who represented many of Bill Cosby’s victims. Crawford’s suit says Goldman likely paid money in exchange for Doe leaving and keeping her experiences confidential.
Goldman also hired an outside law firm to investigate the matter; however, Crawford alleges that she and other potential witnesses were not interviewed about it.
Following Cafasso’s return to the office, Crawford allegedly told him Doe had spoken to her about the events, that she objected to his conduct, and that she wanted to be treated fairly by him. It was after that, she alleges, that he changed her performance review.
“As a lawyer and professional, I always try to stand up for what is right,” Crawford said in a statement via email. “Unfortunately for Goldman’s top lawyers, that made me a liability.”