Pacific Investment Management Co. is aggressively pushing back against allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment from female staff, categorically denying the claims in a legal response to a lawsuit that now includes five current and former PIMCO employees.
In a court filing late Wednesday, the money manager said it “denies each and every material allegation” in the latest version of the complaint, which includes newer allegations of sexual harassment in addition to earlier claims of gender and disability discrimination filed by PIMCO vice president Sue Collazo and project manager Lisa Anthony in November.
In the updated complaint, which was filed in February, former PIMCO administrative assistant Amanda Thiem said that she was sexually harassed by men at the firm and was demoted after rejecting advances made by her boss, former PIMCO funds chairman Brent Harris.
Two other women, Corie Hansen and Danielle Bertuzzi, also joined the suit in February, making complaints of harassment and discrimination based on gender and medical conditions.
In its legal filing on Wednesday, PIMCO described the sexual harassment allegations as “salacious and unfounded,” arguing that the claims were designed to “garner media attention and inflame PIMCO’s clients into questioning PIMCO’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.”
In response to the disability discrimination claims, PIMCO said that it has repeatedly granted the women “prolonged” medical leaves and “accommodated their health issues well beyond what the law requires.”
PIMCO further denied that it allowed pay disparities or “discriminated, harassed, or retaliated against [the women] in any matter.”
In the amended complaint, Hansen claimed that she was denied promotions and salary increases, while Bertuzzi alleged that she was given negative performance evaluations following medical leaves. In response, PIMCO claimed that the person giving Hansen and Bertuzzi performance reviews was their co-plaintiff Anthony.
“When the language designed to create a false image of a workplace is stripped away, what remains are five separate and unrelated instances of disputes over performance, pace of advancement, and workplace logistics,” PIMCO said. “None of it was discriminatory, none was retaliatory, none was racist, sexist, or ageist.”
Responding to PIMCO’s filing on Thursday, attorney Nancy Abrolat, who is representing the women, said in a statement that the “allegations in the complaint — and PIMCO’s abysmal numbers when it comes to diversity and inclusion — speak for themselves.”
“It is absurd the company is spending so much effort employing delay tactics to stop these women from seeking justice while doing absolutely nothing to address systemic issues of harassment, abuse, and discrimination under their own roof,” she added.