If you date your coworker in the American workplace, human resources may sit you down for a talk. If you date your coworker at Goldman Sachs, your manager may send you to Tokyo and leave your girlfriend in Jersey City.
In response to last week’s gender discrimination lawsuit, Heidi Moore of The Daily Beast reported on the dating culture and “Old Testament” dating rules at the nation’s preeminent banking firm.
Like many Wall Street firms with endless hours and constant group projects, Goldman is a bit on the incestuous side.
“The hothouse airlessness of most investment banking culture, with its 15-hour days and shared travel arrangements, inevitably lead to stretched boundaries,” Moore writes.
But Goldman issues stringent rules for when employees venture out of bounds. Any incident—a date with the boss, a groping on the airplane to Tokyo, a flirtatious glance in the break room—should be reported to HR. The vast majority of Goldman employees, like devout Catholics, confess everything.
When you do confess, Goldman typically absolves you. (The company is God-like in that way.) Moore described an incident in which a banker groped a 26-year-old female associate. He reported himself to HR the next day, and the firm absolved him. The woman, though, waited two years to report the incident.
This is when Goldman smites. According to Moore, the late confession “worked against her.” In another instance, a banker kissed a coworker but neglected to report it. Once the gossip mill reached his manager, he lost a quarter of his bonus. Above all, when incidents go unreported, Goldman opts to separate those involved in the affair. If two employees hide the fact that they’ve had consensual sex, Goldman may move them to separate branches, and sometimes to separate continents.
Moore writes, “The firm’s dating protocols require employees to disclose their relationships to their direct manager, who can contact what one alum wryly calls ‘the inappropriate-behavior SWAT team.”
Maybe that’s the secret to dominating the banking world: channel the Old Testament.